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A Personal Understanding Of The Roles Of Sociologists And Intellectuals

826 words - 3 pages

By general definition, sociology is the study of human behavior and interaction. This social science is studied by sociologists and scholarly intellectuals on both macrosocial and microsocial levels. Through examining sociology frequently and meticulously, I have come to a personal conclusion that one of the most significant aspects to the world of sociology is the concept of "sociology of knowledge," basically meaning the emphasis sociologists place on finding a logical explanation of how an individual attains the knowledge and views that he or she possesses. In other words, "how do people know what they know and why?" This specific type of exploration by sociologists and intellectuals make up the biggest roles in which they play and, in return, contribute to society.

From my own, personal study of sociology, the roles of the intellectual and the sociologist become quite clear. To explicate in more simplified terms, every social scientist sets out with the goal to understand how certain individuals or social groups obtain the unique and diverse ideologies which they hold to be important and justified in living their day-to-day lives.

Karl Mannheim plays a major role in helping the world of sociology understand the concept of the "sociology of knowledge" in a more detailed manner. This Hungarian social philosopher produces the famous novel, Ideology and Utopia, which contains the selection, "The Sociology of Knowledge and Ideology," in which Mannheim maintains that individuals who belong in a specific social group develop their own style or "mode" of thinking. Mannheim writes that the main principal thesis of the sociology of knowledge is that there are modes of though which cannot be adequately understood as long as their social origins are obscured. It is indeed true that only the individual is capable of thinking (Lemert:218). As one who studies sociology on a regular basis, I have inferred that Mannheim believes the "historical settings," or other external forces influence an individual's or social group's thought processes.

Another social scientist who has further assisted in my understanding of the roles of intellectuals and sociologists, as well as my faith in the feasibility to explain human interaction in this manner, is a journalist and writer by the name of Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci is the man responsible for birthing the literary work, Intellectuals and Hegemony. Gramsci emphasizes the term "hegemony" to mean dominance, thus paralleling this definition with the status and hierarchy existent within...

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