Circulation, Arenas, and the Quest for Public Knowledge: Historiographical Currents and Analytical Frameworks

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Abstract

The recent surge in publications on the history of knowledge may obscure the fact that there are several parallel understandings of what the field is. In this article, I discern five major historiographical directions in contemporary scholarship regarding the history of knowledge. The analytical framework that has so far attracted the most attention is the circulation of knowledge. As productive as it is, the very concept of circulation is in need of both elaboration and theorization. In order to achieve this, I focus on the public circulation of knowledge. This kind of circulation implies that knowledge should be studied as a broad, societal phenomenon. There are a number of possible methodological approaches to study the processes, situations, or contexts where knowledge has or gains public significance. Here I focus on and develop the concept of public arenas of knowledge, which might be virtual, physical, or hybrid spaces. Drawing on several new studies, I demonstrate how different public arenas of knowledge functioned during the postwar period and how they were part of a larger infrastructure of knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111–126
JournalHistory and Theory: Studies in the Philosophy of History
Volume59
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History

Keywords

  • history of knowledge

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