July 19, 1944|
|Alma mater||University of Vienna, (Cultural Anthropology, minor in Sociology), Ph.D., 1971; Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Post-doctoral Diploma (Sociology), 1972; University of Bielefeld, Habilitation (Sociology), 1981|
|Employer||Universität Konstanz, University of Chicago|
|Known for||Work on epistemology and social constructionism|
|Notable work||The Manufacture of Knowledge: An Essay on the Constructivist and Contextual Nature of Science (1981) and Epistemic Cultures: How the Sciences Make Knowledge (1999)|
|Awards||Ford Fellow, Institute for the Study of Social Change, University of California, Berkeley|
Karin Knorr-Cetina (also Karin Knorr Cetina) (born 19 July 1944 in Graz, Austria) is an Austrian sociologist well known for her work on epistemology and social constructionism, summarized in the books The Manufacture of Knowledge: An Essay on the Constructivist and Contextual Nature of Science (1981) and Epistemic Cultures: How the Sciences Make Knowledge (1999). Currently, she focuses on the study of global microstructures and Social studies of finance. Karin Knorr is professor of the Theory of Sociology at the Universität Konstanz and guest professor at the University of Chicago.
A knowledge object is a theoretical concept introduced by Knorr-Cetina to describe the emergence of post-social relations in epistemic cultures. Knowledge objects are different from everyday things and are defined as unfolding structures that are non-identical with themselves; Jyri Engeström based the concept of social objects on this concept.
The Synthetic Situation: Interactionism for a Global World
Knorr Cetina’s lecture “The Synthetic Situation: Interactionism for a Global World” from 2008 is vital in rethinking past assumptions about communication and interaction order previously published by sociologists, namely Erving Goffman. In the lecture, which was eventually published in 2009, Knorr Cetina introduces and explains new concepts regarding global interaction. Although Goffman is widely published and read in these areas, much has changed since his day and Knorr Cetina conceptualized such changes.
The introduction of the “synthetic situation” is arguably her most important, new concept. It is defined as a situation that “…invariably includes, and may in fact be entirely constituted by, on-screen projections…”. A synthetic situation, therefore, can manifest in many ways, both informal and formal. Examples include an online video chat, playing video games against others on the Internet or even a business deal done via videoconference. This idea can be seen as a result of the advancement in technology in recent years, and adds a new dimension to Goffman’s social situation where face-to-face interaction is required. Knorr Cetina explains the difference of the two situations by the use of surgery. A Goffmanian situation occurs when there is just the surgeon and the patient. A synthetic situation arises, however, when the surgeon uses technology like a scope and a screen in order to accomplish the task at hand. Without looking at the patient through the screen, the job would not be able to be done and would remain a face-to-face, social situation.
Awards and recognition
- 2009 John Desmond Bernal Prize from the Society for Social Studies of Science.
- Honorary Doctorate from the University of Lucerne 2005
- Knorr-Cetina, Karin (1981). The manufacture of knowledge: an essay on the constructivist and contextual nature of science. Oxford New York: Pergamon Press. ISBN 9780080257778.
- Knorr-Cetina, Karin; Mulkay, Michael (1983). Science observed: perspectives on the social study of science. London Beverly Hills: Sage Publications. ISBN 9780803997837.
- Knorr-Cetina, Karin (1999). Epistemic cultures: how the sciences make knowledge. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674258945.
Chapters in books
- Knorr-Cetina, Karin (1992), "The couch, the cathedral, and the laboratory: on the relationship between experiment and laboratory in science", in Pickering, Andrew, Science as practice and culture, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 113–138, ISBN 9780226668017.
- Engeström, Jyri. "Why some social network services work and others don’t — Or: the case for object-centered sociality". Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- Knorr Cetina, Karin. "The Synthetic Situation: Interactionism for a Global World." Lecture. Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. Boston. 1 Aug. 2008. CBBcat.
- "John Desmond Bernal Prize". Society for Social Studies of Science. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
- Knorr Cetina, K. (1997). Sociality with objects: social relations in postsocial knowledge societies. Theory, culture & society, 14(4), 1-30.
- Knorr Cetina, K., & Brugger, U. (2002). Traders' Engagement with Markets: A Postsocial Relationship. Theory Culture Society, 19(5-6), 161-185.
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