by بدوي، احمد موسى. Aḥmad Mūsá Badawī; Markaz Dirāsāt al-Waḥdah al-ʻArabīyah (Beirut, Lebanon) Book  |  al-Ṭabʻah 1
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Crisis of sociology in the Arab World   (2010-02-12)
Book title : Social Dimensions of Producing and Acquiring Knowledge State of Sociology in Egyptian Universities
Author: Dr. Ahmed Mousa Abdulhamied Mousa Badawi.
Place of publication: Beirut, Center for Arab Unity Studies Edition: first Edition, 2009.
ISBN 978-9953-82-262-4 Num of Pages:480 (includes an index)
Key Words: Sociology of scientific Knowledge, Universities, Teaching, Study, Egypt.
The Problem the Research seeks to tackle : The growing scientific progress that started in the sixteenth century and is still going on up till now, has led to a state of indulgence in exploring what goes on in the scientific field : how it originates and develops, The causes and effects , leading to the appearance of independent fields of research that study the modern science phenomenon , such as the philosophy and history of science , epistemology, and finally The sociology of scientific knowledge which is the field that originated from a new perception of science as a social phenomenon .
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the Industrial Age started and spreading of systematic education on a large scale became a must. After the Second World War, scientific and technological advance made the time cycle of updating scientific knowledge short, hence the emergence of the problem of the permanent need for the rehabilitation of individuals to absorb new knowledge .
In the Globalization Era the necessity for life time education arose . In this respect the university plays a new role: not as the end of an educational phase, but as a base for launching life time education, hence the emergence of the urgent need for the social study of university institution which no longer and will never be just the main instrument of qualifying the human calibers to run all the modern society organizations, or the custodian of the cultural heritage, but the center of scientific advance as well .
Therefore, the underdeveloped societies, and the Egyptian society is one of them, will face a crisis or is actually facing this crisis of inability of filling the gap of knowledge that exists between them and the advanced world which necessitates developing the scientific knowledge system and implementing it at all levels of the systems and the social institutions, even at the level of the social practice and action dominant of the society .
Within this framework an urgent need, both scientific and social, arises to initiate social studies of the Egyptian university institution, because tangible development progress necessitates the existence of a strong scientific institution that operates within adequate social environment, and institutional and communicative relations within the scientific community based on objectivity and the principles of democracy and major ethical principles, so that this institution can generate scientific knowledge and the bases of technology, and their constant rehabilitation, and spreading high quality scientific culture in society as a whole .Office research has revealed a great gap in the field of the social study of knowledge in general, and the university institution in particular, hence the legality and urgent need for this research; and in order to determine the adequate scope of this research, the basic question that arises is :
What are the social dimensions of producing and acquiring sociological knowledge in the Egyptian Universities ?
The Theoretical Importance of the Research : In view of the above, the theoretical importance of the research in the field of producing and acquiring sociological knowledge in the Egyptian universities can be determined as follows :
1- Inferring a composite theoretical view of producing and acquiring sociological knowledge represents theoretical significance in Egyptian sociology that can lead to the understanding and interpretation of the social dimensions producing and acquiring knowledge in a different manner .
2- There is a need to review the sociological heritage of scientific knowledge and updating its theoretical basis, besides introducing a significant branch for the study of the processes of producing and acquiring knowledge, namely The Socio-Epistemology Field that can be studied by the various qualitative research means, especially the Critical Discourse Analysis Approach.
The Applied Significance of the Research :
1- There is need for the description, analysis, and explanation of the processes of producing and acquiring knowledge at the level of the university institution due to the inadequacy of the research heritage closely related to the subject, besides the need for a university institution that can deal with globalization in a new perspective .
2- This study can devise a theoretical and methodological model for social study of scientific knowledge at university which can be applied in the study of the processes of producing and acquiring knowledge in all departments and the various majors . The Main Question the Research Comprises the following Queries : 1- What is the concept of sociology of scientific knowledge, and what is the relation that links epistemology, The philosophy and history of science ? 2- What is the suitable theoretical framework to study the sociology of producing and acquiring knowledge ? 3- What the general characteristics of the development of sociology in Egypt since its beginning till now ? 4- What the general characteristics of the accepted sociological theses in the Egyptian universities ? 5- What are the aspects of the critical discourse analysis of producing and acquiring sociological knowledge dealt with in the university theses and courses dealing with; introduction to sociology, sociological theory and social research methodology ? 6- What are the perceptions of university staff and students of the social and epistemological dimensions that affects of producing and acquiring sociological knowledge in Egyptian universities ? The Objectives of the Research can be surnamed up as follows : 1- Defining the concept of the sociology of science and its relations with epistemology, the philosophy and history of science . 2- Analyzing and criticizing the theory of practice by P. Bourdieu, Structuration theory by A. Giddens, and Norman Fairclough's approach to the critical discourse analysis.
3- Putting a classification to the stages of the development of sociology in Egypt .
4- Getting acquainted with the general characteristics of the sociological theses accepted in five Egyptian universities since the foundation of these universities up to 2005 .
5- The critical discourse analysis of producing and acquiring sociological knowledge as tackled in the accepted university theses in the field of sociology, and the critical discourse analysis of the courses of: introduction to sociology, sociological theory and social research methodology in five Egyptian universities .
6- Identifying the perceptions of university staff members and students of the social and epistemological dimensions that affect producing and acquiring sociological knowledge in five Egyptian universities .
The Theoretical Framework : To achieve these objectives this research relies on a theoretical framework its basic reference contains the Social Practice Theory by Pierre Bourdieu and the Theory of Structuration by Anthony Giddens. And propositions which are introduced by sociologists in Egypt to clarify the state of producing and acquiring sociological knowledge in the Egyptian university, especially the contribution of Al-sayyid Yasin in a study its title is " The academic man between personal deviation and social disorder" and the study of Ahmed Zayid its title is " Knowledge and authority –towards moral model of scientific socialization .By critical analysis of those theoretical resources, the research can reach to a theoretical framework to explain its problem, which supposes two paths to form Structuration, they are the scaling path of practice and the descendant path of Structuration, and they are connected by argumentative relation . The Methodological Framework : To answer the questions the study raised, the research adopted the qualitative approach as a methodological approach, besides the quantitative analysis techniques, where texts are analyzed through the use of the critical discourse analysis and its application to samples of M.A and PH.D theses and study courses in the field of : introduction to sociology, sociological theory and social research methodology. On the other hand, statement of the perceptions of the teaching staff and students are collected by tool of focal qualitative interview, besides other tools of research such as the one question questionnaire to measure the interest of first year students in the department of Sociology to continue their study in this specialization, in addition a short bibliographical survey of the accepted theses in the Department of Sociology in five universities, namely: Cairo, Alexandria, Elmenya, Mansoura and Benha to explore the general characteristics of producing theses since the foundation of these universities up to 2005.
Many methodological problem related to the processes of collecting and measuring field material, which the previous studies failed to deal with, appeared, they can be summed up as follows :
1- there is no clear criterion for the objective distribution of scientific produce.
2- there is no clear criterion to classify the references used in academic theses and study courses .
3- there is no criterion to assess the relation between the size of the produced text and the size of quotations in the theses and the study courses .
4- The critical discourse analysis method introduces results that depend on the personal skill of the researcher and his interpretation ability which leads to the problem of the inconsistence of the results.
The research has introduced solutions to these problems as follows :
1- A method to calculate the objective distribution of the theses based on the concept of calculating averages, and divides production into ; a focal sector, a middle sector, a marginal sector and an absent sector.
2- The introduction of a scale for measuring the references used in researches and classifying references into four types ( modern, semi-modern, traditional, historical).
3- A measured calculation for the relation between the size of the produced text and the size of quotations from references.
4- Use of Carl Bobber's " Hypothetical deductive method" to overcome the inadequacy of the critical discourse analysis method. The research has introduced pre-classifications for the different discourses likely to appear when analyzing the scientific product. This pre-classifications includes several objective standards that are being tested to overcome the problem of subjective interpretation.
The Most Significant Results : The results of the critical analysis of the accepted M.A and PH.D theses in the Egyptian Universities has revealed that the scientific discourse is neither traditional nor innovative, but rather a perplexed scientific discourse that depends on perplexed scientific practices ; starting with the phase of choosing the subject of production and ending with the phase reaching scientifically unjustifiable results.
There for most scientific practices on which the production of sociological knowledge in the Egyptian universities are not reflexive practices, with the exception of a limited number of the products that could introduce genuine scientific practices .
Results point out that the scientific field in the Egyptian case suffers from a state of lack of generative power due to lack of struggle and competition conditions in this field. Thus currently production in sociology depends on the methodology of mere explanation of texts . That is why, new comers lack the ability to renew, hence the lack of competition conditions, nor do those in control have the initiative to introduce any thing new so as to create an adequate atmosphere for competition conditions.
Results of analyzing the discourse of courses and the staff member and students perceptions revealed that the acquisition of sociological knowledge in the Egyptian universities lacks the minimum of scientific practice and cannot lead to formation of scientific Habitus in students at all, hence the deterioration of the Scientific Capital that students are provided with across the years of study as result of the deterioration of the level of the lecture, the book, and field training .
This deterioration is linked to structural elements within the scientific field and other external elements besides subjective elements related to influential executives within the scientific field . The Most Significant Recommendations : The Recommendations of the necessity of adopting changes in the policy of university education or the economic conditions governing the scientific field, or the replacement and renewal of the infrastructure of the university education according to world standards, such fundamental Recommendations need a societal strategy that aims at a comprehensive educational renaissance .
There for, the research adopts a number of Recommendations that can be realized at present and leads directly to the development of the processes of acquiring and producing knowledge . The thesis Recommendations that : The Department of Sociology adopts of specific plan, developing: the scientific supervision, linguistic performance, epistemological performance , the feedback of lectures, the university reference books, the training systems, the researcher's critical skills, the competitive practice, and the respect of thought ownership .
Basic data of the researcher (reviewer) Name: BADAWY, AHMED MOUSSA
Mother tongue: Arabic
Degrees: 1-( 2004) :hold a master degree in the sociology of knowledge from the University of Ain Shams(Egypt)
2-( 2008): hold a Ph.D. in the sociology of science from the University of Benha(Egypt)
e-mail address: email@example.com
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