PhD Project Kornelia Engert

Summary of the PhD Project

The Body of Knowledge. Fieldwork, Concept and Theory in the Social Sciences

In the tradition of Social Studies of Science, this project investigates the cultural conditions for the production of scientific knowledge. Taking sociology as a case in point, it assumes that researchers’ repertoires consist of a range of knowledge practices which serve to enable articulations, each in a specific way. Along these knowledge practices – such as speaking, writing, thinking –, the dissertation investigates how and through which academic and research-based methods the idea of a social world is transformed into its sociological representation. Academic and practical are not to be seen as antitheses; rather, the production of academic knowledge should be viewed as everyday practice.

The study does not focus on completed research projects, but examines situations in which sociological knowledge is in the making – e.g. when compiling and interpreting empirical data or when writing a sociological essay. In these everyday situations, sociological knowledge unfolds and articulates itself in a temporary and searching, tentative and creative manner. Formulation and gesticulation, quarreling and struggling with concepts may exhibit observable methods and intensities of an articulation practice that in its production makes use of oral and written, physical and cognitive repertoires.

The dissertation aims to show how

- situated conversations express themselves and become visible as methodological discourse;

- individual researchers stimulate themselves for thinking and reasoning;

- data and insight as well as references to associated literature are pinned down in variously revised research papers