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30. The Sociology of Economics and Scientific Knowledge, and the History of Economic Thought

A. W. Bob Coats

Subject Economics » History of Thought

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631225737.2003.00035.x


The title of this essay conveys only a hint of the terminological and substantive confusion, yet also the promise, suggested by the loosely interlinked network of subjects (disciplines, sub-disciplines, and fields) to which it refers. Some of these subjects are venerable and comparatively static, whereas others, of more recent origin, are not merely rapidly expanding and overlapping, but also changing their shape and content. (Current general terminology includes “the sociology of knowledge,” “the sociology of science,” “the sociology of scientific knowledge,” “social studies [or theories] of science,” “science as social knowledge,” “science studies [or theory],” “the science of science,” and “social economics.” More specific terms such as “the economics of science” and the “economics of scientific knowledge” suggest possibilities for further, perhaps even endless, terminological proliferation. However, in recent years there seems to have been an increasing tendency to use the portmanteau term “science studies.”) This state of affairs may be stimulating to scholars working or specializing in these branches of knowledge, but it is somewhat bewildering to newcomers and students who are trying to take their bearings and find their way through the substantial volume of relevant literature. The following account is subdivided into five sections: • Section 30.2 is a brief introduction ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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