Sociology of Knowledge



Type of instruction






Recommended in

Semester 3

Typically offered in

Autumn semester

Course description

The course aims to introduce the main concepts of sociology of knowledge for students of cognitive science and to discuss a set of relevant research. The class will start with an overview of certain ideas of classical authors of the field: Durkheim and Mauss’s ideas on social origins of classification; Mannheim’s views on the connections between class position and worldview;  Schütz’s phenomenological sociology; Beger and Luckmann’s conception on the social construction of reality; Garfinkel’s demonstration of the morality of everyday cognition. Then the discussion turns to the topics of social constructionist accounts of various cognitive phenomena. While more mainstream cognitive psychology can be considered as patterned according to a set of “individualist” premises regarding the nature of psychological processes, social constructivist, i.e. sociology of knowledge informed psychology is a “collectivist” alternative of cognitive research.

A number of human specific skills gain significance in the actual or imagined presence of others. Varieties of this views are continuously present in the history of scientific psychology, form Wundt across Mead to Bruner. Social constructionist stance to psychological phenomena such as narrative psychology and discursive psychology highlights and details the role of interaction, language and culture in the cognitive and affective processes as well.

General requirements and grading:

The course will be organized on seminar-bases. Evaluation is based on participation in class discussions (25%), oral presentation (25%) and final papers (50%) presented at the last two classes.

mode of evaluation: examination

Learning outcome, competences

  • knows the theories of the field of Sociology


  • is sensitive to and interested in noticing psychological phenomena and problems


  • is able to see causal relationships, can think logically, and can prepare comprehensive reviews

Learning activities, learning methods

Lectures and interactive discussions


  • Bodor, P. & Illés, A. (2008). Possibilities of analyzing visual conduct with an eyetracker device – Searching for visual dialects. Poznań Studies in Contemporary Linguistics 44(2) 197-213.
  • Bodor, P. (2012). Identity in Discourse. In: M. Heller, & B. Kriza (Eds), Identities, Ideologies and Representations in Post-transition Hungary (pp. 117-153). Budapest: ELTE - Eötvös Kiadó.
  • Bodor, P. (2001). More than Meets the Ear. British Journal of Psychology 92, 403-409.
  • Bodor, P. (2004). On Emotions: A Developmental Social Constructionist Account. Budapest: L’Harmattan.
  • Bruner, J. (1996). The Culture of Education. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • Durkheim, E., & M. Mauss. (1963). Primitive classification. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Edwards, D. (1997). Discourse and Cognition. London: Sage.
  • Garfinkel, H. (1984). Studies in Ethnomethodology. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Gergen, K. J. (2001). An Invitation to Social Construction. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
  • Schütz, A. (1967). The Phenomenology of the Social World. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press.