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Fiction and Social Knowledge : Towards a Strong Program in the Sociology of Literature

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VÁŇA, Jan. Fiction and Social Knowledge : Towards a Strong Program in the Sociology of Literature. Russian Sociological Review. 2020, vol. 19, No 4, p. 14-35. ISSN 1728-192X.
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Original name Fiction and Social Knowledge : Towards a Strong Program in the Sociology of Literature
Authors VÁŇA, Jan.
Edition Russian Sociological Review, 2020, 1728-192X.
Other information
Original language English
Type of outcome Article in a journal
Country of publisher Russian Federation
Confidentiality degree is not subject to a state or trade secret
WWW URL
Organization Fakulta sociálních studií - Repository
UT WoS 000605028500002
Keywords in English sociology of literature; cultural sociology; social theory; social knowledge; theorizing; aesthetic experience; fiction
Links MUNI/A/1158/2019.
Changed by Changed by: RNDr. Daniel Jakubík, učo 139797. Changed: 4/3/2021 02:10.
Abstract
Following the strong program in cultural sociology, I propose a strong program in the sociology of liter-ature, which treats literary pieces rightly as relatively autonomous cultural entities and “independent var-iables”. To outline the epistemological foundations of the new research program, I compare how social knowledge comes into existence through the sociological text and the text of literary fiction. I discuss the representation of social reality in interpretive research, with Isaac Reed’s book Interpretation and Social Knowledge as a starting point. To claim literary autonomy, I outline some of the aspects which social the-ory shares with literary fiction. I am mainly interested in how social theory and literary fiction mediate social knowledge to their readers via the aesthetic experience. I identify two main categories of social knowledge mediated by literature: existential understanding and Zeitgeist. Discussing the sociological treatment of several novels, I look at how these two categories intertwine and support each other to create colorful, sensitive, but also robust and deep social knowledge, which condenses aesthetic, existential, and non-discursive aspects of social experience together with the “big picture” of whole societies. I argue that only by overcoming the often-assumed inferiority of literature in sociological research can sociology real-ize its full potential in understanding the meanings of social life.
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  • a concrete person Mgr. Jolana Surýnková, uco 220973
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