Remembering the Sociological Imagination: Transdisciplinarity, the Genealogical Method, and Epistemological Politics

By Heidi Rimke.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper is premised upon the claim that the intellectual tradition of transgressing disciplinary boundaries has been at the heart of Sociology since its inception. Using the example of Foucault’s genealogical method, the paper advances the argument that subversion of disciplinary boundaries fulfills the aims of C.W. Mills' promise of the sociological imagination. In this light, the paper discusses and contextualizes the broader conceptual and methodological turn to ‘transdisciplinarity’ in contemporary knowledge production. Marked by an awareness of the impossibility of a unitary approach to scholarship, the paper argues that critical research must necessarily focus on the multiple domains or disciplinary fields involved in the production of expert discourses. The paper provides a corrective to the general tendency towards not only social myopia but also historical amnesia characteristic of much social science research. Arguing that genealogization or epistemological insurrectionism decolonizes traditional disciplinary boundaries and rules, the paper demonstrates that a transdisciplinary epistemology can account for social and political relations constitutive of dominant forms of knowledge production.

Keywords: C.W. Mills, Discourse Analysis, Epistemological Insurrectionism, Genealogical Method, Genealogy, Historical Sociology, Historicization, Michel Foucault, Social and Political Theory, Sociological Imagination, Sociology of Knowledge, Transdisciplinarity, Transdisciplinary Research

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.239-254. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 664.520KB).

Dr. Heidi Rimke

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, The University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Heidi M. Rimke, Ph.D., teaches in the Department of Sociology at The University of Winnipeg, Canada. She specializes in the areas of classical and contemporary social and political theory, historical and political sociology, criminology, and the history of the human sciences. Her publications examine the role of popular psychology in neo-liberalism, the medicalization of morality in Western society, and the social history of the doctrine of moral insanity. She is currently researching the psychiatrization of everyday life in addition to a project that examines contemporary biogenic discourses on crime and criminality.

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