The Full Wiki

Karl Mannheim: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Karl Mannheim (March 27, 1893, Budapest – January 9, 1947, London), or Mannheim Károly in the original writing of his name, was a Jewish Hungarian-born sociologist, influential in the first half of the 20th century and one of the founding fathers of classical sociology. Mannheim rates as a founder of the sociology of knowledge.

Contents

Life

Mannheim studied in Budapest, Berlin, Paris and Heidelberg. In 1914 he attended lectures by Georg Simmel. During the brief period of the Hungarian Soviet in 1919 he taught in a teacher training school thanks to the patronage of his friend and mentor György Lukács, whose political conversion to Communism he did not, however, share. After the emergence of the harsh counter-revolutionary regime in Hungary, Mannheim chose exile in Germany. From 1922 to 1925 in Heidelberg he worked under the German sociologist Alfred Weber, brother of the well-known sociologist Max Weber. In 1926 Mannheim satisfied the requirements to teach classes in sociology at Heidelberg. In 1930 he became professor of sociology at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main. Norbert Elias and Hans Gerth worked as his assistants during this period (from spring 1930 until spring 1933), with Elias as the senior partner.

In 1933, after his ouster from his professorship, he fled the Nazi regime and settled in Britain, where he was appointed a lecturer in Sociology at the London School of Economics (LSE). In 1941 he was invited by Sir Fred Clarke, Director of the Institute of Education, University of London, to teach sociology on a part-time basis in conjunction with his role at LSE. In January 1946 he took up the full-time chair of education at the Institute of Education, which he held until his death a year later at the age of 53. During his time in England, Mannheim played a central role in 'The Moot', a Christian think-tank concerned with the role of culture in society, which was convened by J. H. Oldham.[1]

Mannheim’s biography, one of intellectual and geographical migration, falls into three main phases: Hungarian (to 1919), German (1919-1933), British (1933-1947). Among his valued intellectual resources were György Lukács, Oskar Jaszi, Georg Simmel,Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, Karl Marx, Alfred and Max Weber, Max Scheler, and Wilhelm Dilthey. In his work, he sought variously to synthesize elements derived from German historicism, Marxism, phenomenology, sociology and Anglo-American pragmatism.

Academic Work

Advertisements

The Hungarian phase

Mannheim was a precocious scholar and an accepted member of two influential circles, one centered on Oszkár Jászi and interested above all in French and English sociological writings, and one centered on György Lukács, with interests focused on the enthusiasms of German diagnosticians of cultural crisis, notably the novels of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and the writings of the German mystics. Mannheim's Hungarian writings, notably his "Structural Analysis of Epistemology," anticipate his lifelong search for "synthesis" between these currents.

The German phase

This was Mannheim's most productive period. Here he turned from philosophy to sociology, inquiring into the roots of culture. His essays on the sociology of knowledge have become classics. In 'Ideology and Utopia' he argued that the application of the term ideology ought to be broadened. He traced the history of the term from what he called a 'particular' view. This view saw ideology as the perhaps deliberate obscuring of facts. This view gave way to a 'total' conception (most notably in Marx) which argued that a whole social group's thought was formed by its social position (e.g. the proletariat's beliefs were conditioned by their relationship to the means of production). However, he called for a further step which he called a general total conception of ideology, in which it was recognised that everyone's beliefs—including the social scientist's—were a product of the context they were created in. He feared this could lead to relativism but proposed the idea of relationism as an antidote. To uphold the distinction, he maintained that the recognition of different perspectives according to differences in time and social location appears arbitrary only to an abstract and disembodied theory of knowledge.

The list of reviewers of the German "Ideology and Utopia" includes a remarkable roll call of individuals who became famous in exile, after the rise of Hitler: Hannah Arendt, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, Paul Tillich, Hans Speier, Günther Stern (aka Günther Anders), Waldemar Gurian, Siegfried Kracauer, Otto Neurath, Karl August Wittfogel, Béla Fogarasi, and Leo Strauss.

Mannheim's ambitious attempt to promote a comprehensive sociological analysis of the structures of knowledge was treated with suspicion by Marxists and neo-Marxists of what was the grouping that was later recognized as an antecedent of the Frankfurt School. They saw the rising popularity of the sociology of knowledge as a neutralization and a betrayal of Marxist inspiration. Relations between Mannheim and Horkheimer were however correct, and there is no evidence that students were enlisted in the arguments between them, which played out in faculty forums, like the Kant Gesellschaft and Paul Tillich's Christian Socialist discussion group. Horkheimer's Institute at the time was best known for the empirical work it encouraged, and several of Mannheim's doctoral students used its resources. While this intramural contest looms large in retrospect, Mannheim's most active contemporary competitors were in fact other academic sociologists, notably the gifted proto-fascist Leipzig professor, Hans Freyer, and the proponent of formal sociology and leading figure in the profession, Leopold von Wiese.

The British phase

In this British phase Mannheim attempted a comprehensive analysis of the structure of modern society by way of democratic social planning and education. His work was admired more by educators, social workers, and religious thinkers than it was by the small community of British sociologists. His books on planning nevertheless played an important part in the political debates of the immediate post-war years, both in the United States and in several European countries.

Mannheim's book Ideologie und Utopie (1929) was the most widely debated book by a living sociologist in Germany during the Weimar Republic; the English version Ideology and Utopia (1936) has been a standard in American-style international academic sociology, carried by the interest it aroused in the United States. The quite different German and English versions of the book figure in reappraisals of Mannheim initiated by new textual discoveries and republications. Mannheim’s sociological theorizing has been the subject of numerous book-length studies, evidence of an international interest in his principal themes. Mannheim was not the author of any work he himself considered a finished book, but rather of some fifty major essays and treatises, most later published in book form. Curiously, German National Socialism (Nazism) was not mentioned as one of four "form[s]of the Utopian mentality," and there was no mention of Hitler or of Nazism in this work, even though Mannheim was shortly to flee Germany because of it. But then, Mannheim did not mention Catholic political ideology or nationalism either, although both were politically far more important than Nazism at the time he wrote the book. Nor did he distinguish between Social Democratic and Communist variants of Socialism, not to speak of democratic and anti-democratic variants of Liberalism. Fascism, while also not a "form of Utopian mentality," was discussed elsewhere in the volume, drawing on Italian explications of the ideology. His lecture notes in 1930 show clearly that, like Marxist analysts, he considered Nazism as a German form of Fascism. His typology of ideal types in Ideologie und Utopie' ' is based on depth-structural similarities, not diverse political programs.

Selected works

  • Mannheim, K. ([1922-24] 1980) Structures of Thinking. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  • Mannheim, K. ([1925] 1986) Conservatism. A Contribution to the Sociology of Knowledge. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  • Mannheim, K. (1929), Ideologie und Utopie
  • Mannheim, K. (1936) Ideology and Utopia. London: Routledge.
  • Mannheim, K. (1940) Man and Society in an Age of Reconstruction. London: Routledge.
  • Mannheim, K. ([1930] 2001) Sociology as Political Education. New Brunswick, NJ. Transaction
  • Mannheim, K. (1971. 1993) From Karl Mannheim. New Brunswick, NJ. Transaction.

Further reading

  • Richard Aldrich, (2002) The Institute of Education 1902-2002: A centenary history, London: Institute of Education.
  • David Frisby, (1983) The Alienated Mind, London: Heineman.
  • David Kettler, Volker Meja, and Nico Stehr (1984), Karl Mannheim, London: Tavistock.
  • David Kettler and Volker Meja, (1995) Karl Mannheim and the Crisis of Liberalism, New Brunswick and London: Transaction.
  • Colin Loader, (1985) The Intellectual Development of Karl Mannheim, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Colin Loader and David Kettler (2001) Karl Mannheim's Sociology as Political Education New Brunswick and London: Transaction.
  • Volker Meja and Nico Stehr (eds), (1982[1990]) Knowledge and Politics. The Sociology of Knowledge Dispute, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  • Eva Karadi and Erzsebet Vezer, (1985) Georg Lukacs, Karl Mannheim und der Sonntagskreis, Frankfurt/M: Sendler.
  • Reinhard Laube (2004) Karl Mannheim und die Krise des Historismus, Goettingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

References

  1. ^ [1]

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

At this point in history when all things which concern man and the structure and elements of history itself are suddenly revealed to us in a new light, it behooves us in our scientific thinking to become masters of the situation…

Karl Mannheim (27 March 18939 January 1947) was a Hungarian-born social philosopher and sociologist, influential with his development of the sociology of knowledge.

Contents

Sourced

Ideology and Utopia (1929)

As translated by Louis Wirth and Edward Shils (1936)
When we attribute to one historical epoch one intellectual world and to ourselves another one … we refer not to the isolated cases of thought-content, but to fundamentally divergent thought-systems and to widely differing modes of experience and interpretation.
There are two separate and distinct solutions to the problem of what constitutes reliable knowledge — the one solution may be termed relationism, and the other relativism.
There are spheres of thought in which it is impossible to conceive of absolute truth existing independently of the values and position of the subject and unrelated to the social context.
Human thought arises, and operates, not in a social vacuum but in a definite social milieu.
We must realize once and for all that the meanings which make up our world are simply an historically determined and continuously developing structure in which man develops, and are in no sense absolute.
All knowledge is oriented toward some object and is influenced in its approach by the nature of the object with which it is pre-occupied. But the mode of approach to the object to be known is dependent upon the nature of the knower.
Every point of view is particular to a social situation.
Relationism signifies merely that all of the elements of meaning in a given situation have reference to one another and derive their significance from this reciprocal interrelationship in a given frame of thought.
It has become extremely questionable whether, in the flux of life, it is a genuinely worthwhile intellectual problem to seek to discover fixed and immutable ideas or absolutes. It is a more worthy intellectual task perhaps to learn to think dynamically and relationally rather than statically.
The absolute which was once a means of entering into communion with the divine, has now become an instrument used by those who profit from it, to distort, pervert, and conceal the meaning of the present.
  • In general there are two distinct and separable meanings of the term "ideology" — the particular and the total.
    The particular conception of ideology is implied when the term denotes that we are sceptical of the ideas and representations advanced by our opponent. They are regarded as more or less conscious disguises of the real nature of a situation, the true recognition of which would not be in accord with his interests.
    These distortions range all the way from conscious lies to half-conscious and unwitting disguises; from calculated attempts to dupe others to self-deception. This conception of ideology, which has only gradually become differentiated from the common-sense notion of the lie is particular in several senses. Its particularity becomes evident when it is contrasted with the more inclusive total conception of ideology. Here we refer to the ideology of an age or of a concrete historico-social group, e.g. of a class, when we are concerned with the characteristics and composition of the total structure of the mind of this epoch or of this group. Although they have something in common, there are also significant differences between them.
  • Whereas the particular conception of ideology designates only a part of the opponent's assertions as ideologies — and this only with reference to their content, the total conception calls into question the opponent's total Weltanschauung (including his conceptual apparatus), and attempts to understand these concepts as an outgrowth of the collective life of which he partakes.
  • The particular conception of "ideology" makes its analysis of ideas on a purely psychological level. If it is claimed for instance that an adversary is lying, or that he is concealing or distorting a given factual situation, it is still nevertheless assumed that both parties share common criteria of validity — it is still assumed that it is possible to refute lies and eradicate sources or error by referring to accepted criteria of objective validity common to both parties. The suspicion that one's opponent is the victim of an ideology does not go so far as to exclude him from discussion on the basis of a common theoretical frame of reference. The case is different with the total conception of ideology. When we attribute to one historical epoch one intellectual world and to ourselves another one, or if a certain historically determined social stratum thinks in categories other than our own, we refer not to the isolated cases of thought-content, but to fundamentally divergent thought-systems and to widely differing modes of experience and interpretation.
  • The particular conception of ideology operates primarily with a psychology of interests, while the total conception uses a more formal functional analysis, without any reference to motivations, confining itself to an objective description of the structural differences in minds operating in different social settings. The former assumes that this or that interest is the cause of a given lie or deception. The latter presupposes simply that there is a correspondence between a given social situation and a given perspective, point of view, or apperception mass. In this case, while an analysis of constellations of interests may often be necessary it is not to establish causal connections but to characterize the total situation. Thus interest psychology tends to be displaced by an analysis of the correspondence between the situation to be known and the forms of knowledge.
  • As long as one does not call his own position into question but regards it as absolute, while interpreting his opponents' ideas as a mere function of the social positions they occupy, the decisive step forward has not yet been taken.
  • The general form of the total conception of ideology is being used by the analyst when he has the courage to subject not just the adversary's point of view but all point of view, including his own, to the ideological analysis.
    At the present stage of our understanding it is hardly possible to avoid this general formulation of the total conception of ideology, according to which the thought of all parties in all epochs is of an ideological character.
  • The thought of every group is seen as arising out of its life conditions. Thus, it becomes the task of the sociological history of thought to anlayse without regard for party biases all the factors in the actually existing social situation which may influence thought. This sociologically oriented history of ideas is destined to provide modern men with a revised view of the whole historical process.
  • In attempting to expose the views of another, one is forced to make one's own view appear infallible and absolute, which is a procedure altogether to be avoided if one is making a specifically non-evaluative investigation. The second possible approach is nevertheless to combine such a non-evaluative analysis with a definite epistemology. Viewed from the angle of this second approach there are two separate and distinct solutions to the problem of what constitutes reliable knowledge — the one solution may be termed relationism, and the other relativism.
  • Relativism is a product of the modern historical-sociological procedure which is based on the recognition that all historical thinking is bound up with the concrete position in life of the thinker [Standortsgebundenheit des Denkers]. But relativism combines this historical-sociological insight with an older theory of knowledge which was as yet unaware of the interplay between conditions of existence and modes of thought, and which modelled its knowledge after static prototypes such as might be exemplified by the proposition 2 x 2 = 4. This older type of thought, which regarded such examples as the model of all thought, was necessarily led to the rejection of all those forms of knowledge which were dependent upon the subjective standpoint and the social situation of the knower, and which were, hence, merely "relative".
  • A modern theory of knowledge which takes account of the relational as distinct from the merely relative character of all historical knowledge must start with the assumption that there are spheres of thought in which it is impossible to conceive of absolute truth existing independently of the values and position of the subject and unrelated to the social context.
  • What is intelligible in history can be formulated only with reference to problems and conceptual constructions which themselves arise in the flux of historical experience.
  • Once we recognize that all historical knowledge is relational knowledge, and can only be formulated with reference to the position of the observer, we are faced, once more, with the task of discriminating between what is true and what is false in such knowledge.
  • The non-evaluative general total conception of ideology is to be found primarily in those historical investigations, where, provisionally and for the sake of the simplification of the problem, no judgments are pronounced as to the correctness of the ideas to be treated. This approach confines itself to discovering the relations between certain mental structures and the life-situations in which they exist. We must constantly ask ourselves how it comes about that a given type of social situation gives rise to a given interpretation. Thus the ideological element in human thought, viewed at this level, is always bound up with the existing life-situation of the thinker. According to this view human thought arises, and operates, not in a social vacuum but in a definite social milieu.
  • To-day, there are too many points of view of equal value and prestige, each showing the relativity of the other, to permit us to take any one position and to regard it as impregnable and absolute. Only this socially disorganized intellectual situation makes possible the insight, hidden until now by a generally stable social structure and the practicability of certain traditional norms, that every point of view is particular to a social situation.
  • It may indeed be true that in order to act we need a certain amount of self-confidence and intellectual self-assurance. It may also be true that the very form of expression, in which we clothe our thoughts, tends to impose upon them an absolute tone.
  • Conflicting intellectual positions may actually come to supplement one another.
    It is imperative in the present transitional period to make use of the intellectual twilight which dominates our epoch and in which all values and points of view appear in their genuine relativity. We must realize once and for all that the meanings which make up our world are simply an historically determined and continuously developing structure in which man develops, and are in no sense absolute.
  • At this point in history when all things which concern man and the structure and elements of history itself are suddenly revealed to us in a new light, it behooves us in our scientific thinking to become masters of the situation, for it is not inconceivable that sooner than we suspect, as has often been the case before in history, this vision may disappear, the opportunity may be lost, and the world will once again present a static, uniform, and inflexible countenance.
  • This first non-evaluative insight into history does not inevitably lead to relativism, but rather to relationism. Knowledge, as seen in the light of the total conception of ideology, is by no means an illusory experience, for ideology in its relational concept is not at all identical with illusion. Knowledge arising out of our experience in actual life situations, though not absolute, is knowledge none the less. The norms arising out of such actual life situations do not exist in a social vacuum, but are effective as real sanctions for conduct. Relationism signifies merely that all of the elements of meaning in a given situation have reference to one another and derive their significance from this reciprocal interrelationship in a given frame of thought. Such a system of meanings is possible and valid only in a given type of historical existence, to which, for a time, it furnishes appropriate expression. When the social situation changes, the system of norms to which it had previously given birth ceases to be in harmony with it. The same estrangement goes on with reference to knowledge and to the historical perspective. All knowledge is oriented toward some object and is influenced in its approach by the nature of the object with which it is pre-occupied. But the mode of approach to the object to be known is dependent upon the nature of the knower.
  • In order to be transmuted into knowledge, every perception is and must be ordered and organized into categories. The extent, however, to which we can organize and express our experience in such conceptual forms is, in turn, dependent upon the frames of reference which happen to be available at a given historical moment. The concepts which we have and the universe of discourse in which we move, together with the directions in which they tend to elaborate themselves, are dependent largely upon the historical-social situation of the intellectually active and responsible members of the group.
  • It has become extremely questionable whether, in the flux of life, it is a genuinely worthwhile intellectual problem to seek to discover fixed and immutable ideas or absolutes. It is a more worthy intellectual task perhaps to learn to think dynamically and relationally rather than statically.
  • 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.
  • It may possibly be true that, to continue to live on and to act in a world like ours, it is vitally necessary to seek a way out of this uncertainty of multiple alternatives; and accordingly people may be led to embrace some immediate goal as if it were absolute, by which they hope to make their problems appear concrete and real. But it is not primarily the man of action who seeks the absolute and immutable, but rather it is he who wishes to induce others to hold on to the status quo because he feels comfortable and smug under conditions as they are.
  • We are faced with the curiously appalling trend of modern thought, in which the absolute which was once a means of entering into communion with the divine, has now become an instrument used by those who profit from it, to distort, pervert, and conceal the meaning of the present.
  • When the empirical investigator glories in his refusal to go beyond the specialized observation dictated by the traditions of his discipline, be they ever so inclusive, he is making a virtue out of a defense mechanism which insures him against questioning his presuppositions.
  • Every bureaucracy, therefore, in accord with the peculiar emphasis on its own position, tends to generalize its own experience and to overlook the fact that the realm of administration and of smoothly functioning order represents only a part of the total political reality. Bureaucratic thought does not deny the possibility of the science of politics, but regards it as identical with the science of administration. Thus irrational factors are overlooked, and when these nevertheless force themselves to the fore, they are treated as "routine matters of state."

Quotes about Mannheim

  • Mannheim also realized that the enlarged concept of ideology in Marxism raises a fundamental problem of knowledge. By denouncing something as "ideological," one takes an ideological position. Mannheim sees this as a spiritual and intellectual crisis in what is now a "Post-Marxist world". Our world is a polemical conflict between different worldviews, each labeling the other as "ideology." There are no criteria common to all with which to arbitrate the validity of one cultural perspective versus another. Even the class consciousness of the proletariat becomes one perspective among many.
  • The political process that Mannheim advocates in response to Fascism admits and institutionalizes the need for perpetual instability and uncertainty in order to make freedom possible; without uncertainty, or what Iser calls indeterminacy, is no freedom. Mannheim's political process is a democratized version of Trotsky's idea of "permanent revolution"...
    • John Paul Riquelme, Boston University
  • Mannheim notes that utopia not only shares with ideology a noncongruence with reality, but that utopia offers a perspective critical of the given reality, thus exposing the gap between what is and an ideal of what should be. Utopia, in challenging the existing order, is always a projection into possible futures; whereas, ideology, in legitimating the existing order, is directed toward perpetuating the past. Utopia tends to be the tool of social groups seeking ascendancy; while ideology tends to be the tool of dominant groups seeking to assuage their own sense of failing and justify the inadequacy of the status quo. Ideology and utopia are about power.
    • William Grassie, founder of the Metanexus Institute
  • Mannheim established no school. His preferred literary form was the essay and, collectively, his works contain many inconsistencies and, in places, a certain vagueness. Mannheim, himself was clear about these characteristics but appealed to his readers to see in them a sign of the provisional and experimental nature of his thinking. Of all the classical sociologists, Mannheim is the one whose biography and mode of questioning connects him most directly to the problems of our own time. Although he formulated his politics in relation to a historical situation from which we feel increasingly distant, the questions he posed in the diagnosis of conflict, on the role of the intelligentsia, on education and on democratic planning remain as pertinent as ever.
    • Lloyd Spencer

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message