Towards a Sociology of Philosophy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The article presents and discusses the sociology of philosophy as a theory-based empirically practised sociological subdivision that came to the fore in the 1980s. In the first part, the type of empirical material and the forms of data presentation that are available to the sociology of philosophy are discussed. In the second part, the focus is on two important attempts, those of Randall Collins and Pierre Bourdieu, to develop general sociological theories about the relationship between social being and thought. The main lesson to be drawn from them is that in normal circumstances philosophical thought cannot be reduced to socio-political conditions outside the attention space (Collins) or the philosophical field (Bourdieu). In the concluding part, we tentatively sketch a programme for a future sociology of philosophy. All in all, the sociology of philosophy is seen as an emerging new subdivision within sociology, the potential of which is far from exhausted with respect to theoretical development as well as empirical approaches.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • sociology of philosophy, sociology of knowledge, Randall Collins, Pierre Bourdieu, attention space, philosophical field
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-18
JournalActa Sociologica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch