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The article argues for the social production of curiosity. Due its motivating characteristic, curiosity is reconceptualized as an epistemic drive which organizes the social production of knowledge under given socio-historical and local-cultural circumstances. First, historical, philosophical, and sociological literature is reviewed to give a context for the argument. Then a theoretical apparatus is developed considering the emergence, development, and impact of epistemic drives which serves as a foundation for empirical analysis. The second part demonstrates applicability by discussing the problem of economic incentives in scientific research. I argue that scientific projects with little to none immediate economic return have a significant disadvantage in acquiring funding which in turn impacts the mobilization of curiosity in their field. A tendency which systematically yields a disproportionate distribution of knowledge. In conclusion, the article suggests the usefulness of the epistemic drive notion in understanding curiosity as a sociological object.
Bineth, A. (2021). Towards a sociology of curiosity: theoretical and empirical consideration of the epistemic drive notion. Theory and Society. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11186-021-09464-y