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Conditions for the emergence of sociology

Freemantle, Harry (1997) Conditions for the emergence of sociology. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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As Michel Foucault makes clear, diverse forms of empirical science, including sociology, arose in the space of knowledge opened in the last decades of the eighteenth century. I apply some of Foucault's insights to early 'sociological' writers and explore in detail what was visible and articulable in the France of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Pierre Bourdieu is also used as a theoretical resource because he treats science and scientists as part and product of their particular social world or 'field'.

By examining inventions such as perspective, the microscope, the camera obscura, the Encyclopedie, the balloon, the lithograph, the diorama and photography, re.lated products, reactions to them and the development of accompanying metaphors, I demonstrate how the visual informs the articulable at particular moments in history and chart how this vision changes over time. These inventions formed part of the epistemological and institutional conditions of the observer which underlay the discourse and determined how early 'sociological' writers saw the emerging social world.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Psychology
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Supervisor(s): UNSPECIFIED
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