The American Sociologist

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 41–56 | Cite as

Disciplinary knowledge revisited: The social construction of sociology

  • Stephen Cole
Article
  • 140 Downloads

Abstract

In Making Science (1992) I make the distinction between two types of knowledge: research frontier knowledge and core knowledge. Core knowledge is the small body of knowledge for which the entire scientific community treats as indisputable facts. The research frontier is all new knowledge which makes claim to being facts but in practice there is no consensus on this knowledge. The two types of knowledge are linked together by the evaluation process. Most frontier knowledge turns out to be insignificant and is ignored. A small part of frontier knowledge is taken as candidates for the core and evaluated. Most of this knowledge turns out to be “wrong.” Thus the important data of Jacobs ( 1989) loses a good deal of its impact because he forces it into a theory which he calls “social control”: a theory for which there is no evidence.

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© Transaction Publishers 2006

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  • Stephen Cole

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