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Drawing upon the Marxist, the French structuralist and the American pragmatist traditions, this is a lively and accessible introduction to the sociology of knowledge, the meaning of emerging political and cultural styles of thought and their class and institutional origins. It looks at the cultural impact of the forms and images of mass media, nationally and globally and examines the authority of science, medicine and the law as bodies of contemporary knowledge and practice. Finally it considers the concept of 'engendered knowledge' through a consideration of the complex and often troubled relationship between feminism and science. The sociology of knowledge has sometimes been marginalized as a narrow academic subject. This lucid study reclaims it as an essential tool for all students of culture in all forms.