A general and systematic account of the role of knowledge in society aimed to stimulate both critical discussion and empirical investigations. This book is concerned with the sociology of ‘everything that passes for knowledge in society’. It focuses particularly on that ‘common-sense knowledge’ which constitutes the reality of everyday life for the ordinary member of society. The authors are concerned to present an analysis of knowledge in everyday life in the context of a theory of society as a dialectical process between objective and subjective reality. Their development of a theory of institutions, legitimations and socializations has implications beyond the discipline of sociology, and their ‘humanistic’ approach has considerable relevance for other social scientists, historians, philosophers and anthropologists.
Marx, Scheler, Weber, Mannheim - the gilded names in the pantheon of sociological thought always seem to be German. Even Durkheim, though French, probably had ancestors along the Rhine. In any case, Berger (of The New School) and Luckmann (of the University of Frankfurt) quite properly hatched the present volume "in the course of some leisurely conversations. . . on the top of the Alps of Western Austria," and have dedicated it to the memory of the late Alfred Schutz. The study, quite apart from its programmatic value as a "treatise in the sociology of knowledge," has other more philosophical recommendations: Husserlian phenomenology, Sartre and Jaspers, Mead and the Deweyan tradition, as well as linguistic, psychological, and historical aspects currently fashionable, all mesh together to gather up the unwieldy strands constituting the social fabric. Actually, the metaphor is misleading, for the real intent of the authors, however circumlocutory, is a clearing-away operation, an attempt at ridding the discipline of both narrow inquiries and generalized terminology. What is needed is a "systematic accounting" of the dialectical forces interacting between the subjective and objective poles of modern living, so that "sociology takes its place in the company of the sciences that deal with man as man." If such desires smack of that puzzling, popular phrase, "philosophical anthropology," it only certifies the forward-looking penchant of our authors, who boldly examine the possible integrating factors of business, religion, politics, biology, et al., to produce a thoroughgoing, if windy, theoretical contribution. (Kirkus Reviews)