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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)

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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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Notes

  1. 1.
    de Swaan, A, (1988): In Care of the State. Health Care, Education and Welfare in Europe and the USA in the Modern Era, Cambridge: Polity Press, p. 233.Google Scholar
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  5. 5.
    The arguments contained in what follows have first been developed in Evers, A., Nowotny, H. (1987): Uber den Umgang mit Unsicherheit. Die Entdeckung der Gestaltbarkeit der Gesellschaft (Coping with uncertainty: discovering the shapeability of society). Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
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    For example, see also Weir, M., Skocpol, T. (1985): “State structures and the possibilites for ‘Keynesian Responses’ to the great depression in Sweden, Britain and the United States,” in Bringing the State Back In. Evans, P., Rüschemeyer, D., Skocpol, T. (eds.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
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    The following argument has been dealt with more extensively in Evers, A., Nowotny, H. (1989): “Über den Umgang mit Unsicherheit. Anmerkungen zur Verwendung sozialwissenschaftlichen Wissens,” in: Weder Sozialtechnologie noch Aufklärung? Beck, U., Bonß, W. (eds.) Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, pp. 355–383.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helga Nowotny

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