© 1991

Discourses on Society

The Shaping of the Social Science Disciplines

  • Peter Wagner
  • Björn Wittrock
  • Richard Whitley

Part of the Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook book series (SOSC, volume 15)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. The Politics and Episteme of Discourses on Society

  3. National Profiles In a Long-Term Perspective

  4. The Discourse on Politics Between Philosophy, Science, and Profession

  5. The Constitution of A Science of Society

  6. The Instttutionalization of Economics: Educational Practices, State Policies, and Academic Recognition

  7. Western Social Sciences in Space and Time

About this book


This book, which represents probably the most comprehensive discussion of the emergence of modem social science yet produced, is of far more than merely historical interest. The contributors set out to rewrite the history of the social sciences and to show the limitations of conventional conceptions of their development. These tasks they accomplish with great success and much distinction. Yet in so doing they contribute in a direct way to our understanding of the relation between social analysis and the nature of human societies today. The brilliant and distinctive perspective of the papers in this collection is to demonstrate, with many specific examples, that social science and modem institutions have helped shape each other in mutual interplay. Modem systems are in some part con­ stituted through the reflexive incorporation of developing social science knowledge; on the other hand, the social sciences organise themselves in terms of a continuing reflection upon the evolution of those systems. Such a perspective, as Wagner and Wittrock in particular make clear, does not in any way either impugn the status of knowledge claims made within social science or destroy the independent reality of social institutions. The book questions the notion that the institutionalising of the social sciences can be understood as a process of their increasing autonomy from extemal social connections. 'Autonomy' forms a mode of legitima­ tion and a basis of power rather than a distinctive phenomenon as such.


Institution Nation Political Science Politics political economy

Editors and affiliations

  • Peter Wagner
    • 1
  • Björn Wittrock
    • 2
    • 3
  • Richard Whitley
    • 4
  1. 1.Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für SozialforschungGermany
  2. 2.Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social SciencesUppsala
  3. 3.University of StockholmStockholm
  4. 4.University of ManchesterManchester

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Discourses on Society
  • Book Subtitle The Shaping of the Social Science Disciplines
  • Editors Peter Wagner
    Björn Wittrock
    Richard P. Whitley
  • Series Title Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-0-7923-1001-3
  • Softcover ISBN 978-94-017-4076-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-0-585-29174-1
  • Series ISSN 0167-2320
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XV, 386
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Sociology, general
    Political Science
    Economics, general
  • Buy this book on publisher's site