The article examines, in two different moments, the major sociological approaches to science in the twentieth century: the Sociology of Knowledge, the Sociology of Science and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge. In the first topic, Karl Mannheim's and Robert King Merton's sociological arguments are summarized. We support that the interpretation of Mannheim's work must be recognized as an epistemological prerequisite to the development of Merton's Sociology of Science. Adapted by Merton, Mannheim's sociological metatheory appears in Merton through a functional structuralism approach, associated with a middle range theory. In the second moment, we summarize Thomas Kuhn's arguments for, subsequently, examining the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge as a constructive appreciation to mertonian tradition of thought. The study of the logic principles of David Bloor's Sociology of Scientific Knowledge as well as the investigation of the tradition of thought started in University of Edinburgh, Scotland, was the elementary focus of this topic. Finally, the major characteristics of each tradition are elucidated, searching for changes and continuities that enable the development of the sociological approach on scientific activity since its classical genesis until the contemporary studies.
Epistemology; Sociological Theory; Sociology of Knowledge; Sociology of Science; Sociology of Scientific Knowledge