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Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge
Mannheim, a pioneer in the field of SOCIOLOGY (740), here analyzes the ideologies that are used to stabilize a social order and the wish-dreams that are employed when any transformation of that same order is attempted. Translated and with a Foreword by Louis Wirth and Edward Shils; Preface by Wirth; Indices.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 4th 1955 by Mariner Books
(first published 1929)
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I wish I’d picked up another strand in my review of The Last Gentleman. In it, the engineer, accompanied by a telescope, maps, a firkin and an knowledge of air conditioning represents to some degree measurement, exactitude, reasoning itself; in the novel this is contrasted against the fleshy immanences of existence, the messy viscera of humanity, and also the limits of abstract reasoning. Yet there’s a dissolution (not a compromise, not a resolution) of the dialectic or contrast – perhaps becaus ...more
While Mannheim's concepts themselves are interesting, I feel like the whole book walks in little loops; you have to cycle back over previously mentioned ideas in order to move ahead just a millimeter. It was a little exhausting.
While this book was hailed as ground-breaking in the sociology of knowledge, I found it very general in its ideas and mostly as applied to academic knowledge. The concepts of ideology as socially formed thought systems that support particular social structures and utopia as a conception of an alternative social structure I do find useful.
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“In our contemporary social and intellectual plight, it is nothing less than shocking to discover that those persons who claim to have discovered an absolute are usually the same people who also pretend to be superior to the rest. To find people in our day attempting to pass off to the world and recommending to others some nostrum of the absolute which they claim to have discovered is merely a sign of the loss of and the need for intellectual and moral certainty, felt by broad sections of the population who are unable to look life in the face.”More quotes…