One of the main contentions of this book is that Mannheim’s most important contribution to sociological understanding is the detailed sociology of knowledge which he developed in Germany in the mid-to late 1920s. However, this perspective can only be properly understood in the context of the unfolding of his thought as a whole which, in turn, can only be fully comprehended against the background of political and intellectual trends of the period. Consequently, this chapter is devoted to a description of Mannheim’s thought as it developed over his residence in Hungary, Germany and England. In the course of this survey certain key themes in Mannheim’s work will emerge.


Social Location Mass Society Feudal Society Social Reconstruction Marxist Critique 
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  1. 2.
    The Hungarian period of Mannheim’s life is usefully treated in Eva Gabor, ‘Mannheim in Hungary and in Weimar Germany’, The Newsletter of the International Society for the Sociology of Knowledge, Vol. 9 (August 1983) Nos. 1 and 2, pp. 7–14.Google Scholar
  2. David Kettler, ‘Culture and Revolution: Lukacs in the Hungarian Revolution of 1918/19’, Telos (Winter 1971) No. 10, pp. 35–92.Google Scholar
  3. David Kettler, Volker Meja and Nico Stehr, Karl Mannheim (Chichester and London: Ellis Horwood/Tavistock, 1984), pp. 18–21Google Scholar
  4. Lee Congdon, ‘Karl Mannheim as Philosopher’, Journal of European Studies, Vol. 7, Pt. 1 (March 1977) No. 25, pp. 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Joseph Gabel, ‘Hungarian Marxism’, Telos (Autumn 1975) No. 25, pp. 185–91.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    Karl Mannheim, ‘Letters to Lukacs, 1910–1916’, The New Hungarian Quarterly, Vol. XVI (Spring 1975) No. 57, pp. 93–105, p. 95.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    All of Mannheim’s later works contain this theme, but see especially Karl Mannheim, Diagnosis of Our Time: Wartime Essays of a Sociologist (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1943) (henceforth cited as DT).Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    Examples of Mannheim’s discussions of Nazi Germany can be found in his Systematic Sociology (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1957) (henceforth cited as SS), p. 88 and in DT, pp. 95–9.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    On Mannheim’s early period in Germany, see Gabor, op.cit., pp. 9–10, David Kettler, Volker Meja and Nico Stehr, ‘Karl Mannheim and Conservatism’, The Newsletter of the International Society for the Sociology of Knowledge, Vol. 9 (August 1983) Nos. 1 and 2, pp. 3–6, especially p. 4;Google Scholar
  10. David Kettler, Volker Meja and Nico Stehr, ‘Introduction: the Design of Conservatism’ in Karl Mannheim, Conservatism: A Contribution to the Sociology of Knowledge (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986).Google Scholar
  11. 19.
    On science see, for example, Karl Mannheim, ‘Historicism’ in his Essays on the Sociology of Knowledge (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1952), pp. 84–133 (henceforth cited as H), p. 117.Google Scholar
  12. Karl Mannheim, ‘The Sociology of Knowledge’ in his Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1936) p. 276.Google Scholar
  13. 22.
    George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979).Google Scholar
  14. 23.
    There are now many studies in feminist literary analysis, see, for example, Elizabeth Abel, Writing and Sexual Difference (Brighton: Harvester, 1982)Google Scholar
  15. Mary Eagleton (ed.), Feminist Literary Theory: A Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986);Google Scholar
  16. Gayle Greene and Coppélia Kahn (eds), Making a Difference: Feminist Literary Criticism (London: Methuen, 1985);Google Scholar
  17. Toril Moi, Sexual! textual politics: feminist literary theory (London: Methuen, 1985);Google Scholar
  18. Judith Newton and Deborah Rosenfelt (eds), Feminist Criticism and Social Change: Sex, Class and Race in Literature and Culture (New York and London: Methuen, 1985);Google Scholar
  19. Elaine Showalter (ed.), The New Feminist Criticism: Essays on Women, Literature and Theory (London: Virago, 1986).Google Scholar
  20. 24.
    On the concepts of the hermeneutic circle and hermeneutic spiral see Zygmunt Bauman, Hermeneutics and Social Science: Approaches to Understanding (London: Hutchinson, 1978), p. 28.Google Scholar
  21. 25.
    David Kettler, ‘Sociology of Knowledge and Moral Philosophy: The Place of Traditional Problems in the Formation of Mannheim’s Thought’, Political Science Quarterly, Vol. LXXXII (1967) No. 3, pp. 399–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. G. Lukacs, History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics (London: Merlin, 1971)Google Scholar
  23. 36.
    See N. Abercrombie and B. Longhurst, ‘Interpreting Mannheim’, Theory, Culture and Society, Vol.2 (1983) No. 1, pp. 5–15, especially pp. 8–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 39.
    Colin Loader has shown convincingly that Lukacs’ influence on Mannheim has been overstated. See Colin Loader, The Intellectual Development of Karl Mannheim: Culture, Politics and Planning (Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 65.Google Scholar
  25. 41.
    Karl Mannheim, ‘The Ideological and the Sociological Interpretation of Intellectual Phenomena’ in Kurt H. Wolff (ed.), From Karl Mannheim (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971) (henceforth cited as ISIIP).Google Scholar
  26. 59.
    Theodor W. Adorno, ‘The Sociology of Knowledge and its Consciousness’ in his Prisms (London: Spearman, 1967), pp. 37–49.Google Scholar
  27. Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973), pp. 197–8.Google Scholar
  28. Martin Jay, ‘The Frankfurt School’s Critique of Karl Mannheim and the Sociology of Knowledge’, Telos (1974) No. 20, pp. 72–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jay’s views have been criticised by James Schmidt in his ‘Critical Theory and the Sociology of Knowledge’, Telos (1974–75) No. 21, pp. 168–80.Google Scholar
  30. Jay has responded to this in ‘Crutches v Stilts: An Answer to James Schmidt on the Frankfurt School’, Telos (Winter 1974–75) No. 22, pp. 106–17.Google Scholar
  31. 63.
    Hannah Tillich, From Time to Time (New York: Stein and Day, 1973), especially the section on Frankfurt.Google Scholar
  32. 74.
    Discussions of ‘mass society’ theory can be found in Salvador Giner, Mass Society (London: Martin Robertson, 1976)Google Scholar
  33. William Kornhauser, The Politics of Mass Society (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1960).Google Scholar
  34. The application of the theory to culture is discussed and criticised in Alan Swingewood, The Myth of Mass Culture (London: Macmillan, 1977).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 89.
    Karl Mannheim and W. A. C. Stewart, An Introduction to the Sociology of Education (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1962).Google Scholar
  36. Stewart discusses Mannheim’s views on education in his Karl Mannheim on Education and Social Thought (London: Harrap, 1967).Google Scholar
  37. 90.
    Karl Mannheim, Freedom, Power and Democratic Planning (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1951) (henceforth cited as FPDP).Google Scholar
  38. 99.
    Karl Mannheim, Essays on the Sociology of Culture (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1956).Google Scholar
  39. 103.
    Montgomery Belgion, ‘The Germanization of Britain’, New English Weekly, Vol. 26, Pt. 18 (15 February 1945), pp. 137–8.Google Scholar
  40. 104.
    Karl Mannheim, ‘The Function of the Refuge: A Rejoinder’, New English Weekly, Vol. 27, Pt. 1 (19 April 1945), pp. 5–6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Brian Longhurst 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Longhurst
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social Policy and Social WorkUniversity of EdinburghUK

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