Established systems of knowledge are currently eroding, opening up new areas of ambiguity. These processes are evident, for example, in the distributed production of knowledge, in the advent of citizen science and transformative science. However, for all their differences, says the sociologist Stefan Böschen in his new book, these phenomena have a common basis: the world of the hierarchical order of knowledge with science as the undisputed center no longer applies unconditionally. At the same time, the importance of science for social problem solving is growing. In order to grasp the paradoxical forms of structural dissolution and reformation of knowledge relations, new analytical tools are needed, says the author.
In the first part of his book, Böschen breaks down knowledge relations as figurations of knowledge regimes, which he understands as social spaces of problem-oriented knowledge production. The continued articulation, definition and solution of problems, which promotes the development of knowledge regimes, are illustrated by two examples: the chemical regime and the biopatenting regime, which are analyzed from their historical roots to the present day.
In order to understand not only the formation of knowledge regimes, but also to be able to reconstruct the overall processes of the transformation of knowledge relations, Stefan Böschen outlines a sociological field theory in the second part of the monograph. According to this theory, important steps are to make the transformation of structures comprehensible as a continuous transformation of the conditions of social problem solving, on the one hand, and to consider the role of stakeholders and structures in such formations in a more balanced way, on the other hand.
Finally, the book outlines three major future research projects which are highly relevant to the further development of this field theory: the analysis of real labs, the study of epistemic regimes, and the reconstruction of historical constellations of the knowledge society. (24.10.2016)