Conceptualizing the masses. Discipline formation & Concepts of modernity.
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In this thesis the concept of the 'masses' is discussed relation to the emerging social sciences. The concept 'masses' is positioned in a debate on discipline formation: mass conceptions by early sociologists and psychologists are put in a larger framework of circulating knowledge. The mass is a concept exceeding single disciplines and exceeding the chosen time period (1890-1939). Themes, patterns, possibilities and limitations of mass conceptualizations will be analyzed by focusing on well-known social scientists and on scientists with specific interest in the masses. The history of sociology and psychology – with matters like discipline formation, the role of intellectuals, the difference between ‘real’ and ‘pseudo’ science, and the connection between ‘cognitive’ and ‘ideological’ - are underlying issues.