The production, contention, certification, dissemination, storage, acquisition, use and forgetting of knowledge (and knowledge about knowledge) is constitutive of many social processes. However, knowledge processes across institutional domains, time and place differ considerable in how they organize this "cycle of knowledge" in practice, how they interweave knowledge centric processes with others especially political and economic ones. Scholars in the sociology department at the University of Chicago study knowledge cultures in and across a wide variety of social domains: in science (high energy physics, molecular biology, medicine, genetics and sociology); in state bureaucracies (licensing agencies, police and secret police organizations, migratory regulation); in private sector organizations (financial markets, biotechnology firms) and religious institutions (fundamentalist Christian and Muslim organizations, missionary movements, monastic orders). In typical Chicago manner scholars in the department employ an eclectic variety of methods to pursue their interests: various statistical and data-mining techniques are used alongside ethnomethology, participant observation, historical ethnography and historical comparative analysis. What unites the sociologists of knowledge in the department is a strong ethos of developing theory from rigorous and systematic empirical investigation while fearlessly importing ideas from the other social sciences, the humanities, the hard sciences and the arts.


Andrew Abbott

Karin Knorr Cetina

James Evans

Andreas Glaeser

Faculty Contact:

Andreas Glaeser