Towards a sociology of humanities

Science is global. Its personnel is internationally mobile, and its communication takes place via English language publications. This narrative has long dominated the sociology of science and higher education. However, it tends to overlook vast areas of the academic map: the humanities.

This project contributed to the growing field of sociology of the social sciences and humanities. Several strands of work evolved from this project: In my PhD, I studied how the notion of “Bildung” is discursively constructed in the humanities, and how it develops from the 19th century to the present.

In other studies, I have examined how the humanities are anchored in national contexts and produce national narratives, traditions, and ideologies. This contribution to national narratives is a remarkable “social impact” of the humanities since the 19th century.

In yet other work I have looked at symbolic boundary work in which the humanities and the natural sciences negotiate their relation to each other.