Knowledge for Certainty: Poverty, Welfare Institutions and the Institutionalization of Social Science

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


The emergence of the modern, secularized nation-state and the firm installment of capitalism in the wake of massive industrialization were extremely powerful forces in shaping Western societies. It is now widely recognized that the social sciences were intimately linked with these developments, especially from the later part of the nineteenth century onwards. They not only provided searching interpretations for the far-ranging transformations witnessed by contemporaries, but also offered advice and various’ solutions’ for the social ills which accompanied the processes of industrialization and urbanization. Social scientists were engaged in a lively and passionately conducted debate either by pressing for reforms and new kinds of collective schemes, by lobbying, polemicizing or as political activists in the name of those who suffered most. Once, however, new collective arrangements of social protection had been set up more or less efficiently to help people cope with the deficiencies and adve rsities which afflicted them on a massive scale, once the emergent welfare state began to take shape with its service bureaucracies, social security and other transfer-payment schemes, collective health care and education, expert knowledge was needed to administer, monitor, expand and readjust these arrangements.


Social Movement Social Security System Discourse System Social Science Knowledge Collective Arrangement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

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  • Helga Nowotny

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