popular knowledge



We explain what popular knowledge is, how it is learned, its function and other characteristics. Also, other types of knowledge.

Popular knowledge includes social behavior and is learned spontaneously.

What is popular knowledge?

By popular knowledge or common knowledge we understand that type of knowledge that does not come from formal and academic sources, as occurs with institutional knowledge (science, religion, etc.), nor do they possess a specific authorship.

They belong to the common society and are acquired directly from the experience of the world, the result of the habit, of common sense or of community life. In other words, they are learned in a spontaneous, naturalized way.

In a way, popular knowledge and vulgar knowledge would be more or less synonyms: both are forms of unofficial knowledge, which does not require logical or experimental demonstrations, or rational argumentation.

However, it is possible that the term "popular" also means ancestral knowledge, of tribal or local origin, transmitted from one generation to another orally. They are marginal knowledge with respect to written, academic and scientific knowledge.

Popular knowledge can operate as a tool for mutual understanding between individuals belonging to different communities. It can also provide common ground to form a identity joint, especially when it comes to stories, myths Y beliefs, in which there are usually fragments of a truth shared history.

Characteristics of popular knowledge

Popular knowledge is transmitted socially and communally, or from direct experience of the world. Therefore, it does not require studies or preparation, nor can it be administered by a group, as occurs with institutional knowledge.

On the other hand, it may have limited validity in cases where the community, or geographic region, since it is, basically, a social construction. However, it should not be confused with common sense, which is a logic related more or less extended within society or some group within it.

Examples of popular knowledge

Gender roles are part of popular knowledge that changes over time.

Some examples of popular knowledge are:

  • The roles of gender, that is, what is understood within a given community that are the typical tasks of a man and a woman, or of a single man and woman, married, etc.
  • The rules of seduction and courtship, which in addition to being popular, vary generationally and are not written anywhere.
  • The identity stories of a community, such as epics, cosmologies, and even legends urban.

Differences with scientific knowledge

Unlike popular knowledge and other forms of informal knowledge, scientific knowledge requires validation, demonstration and specialized dissemination.

In fact, to obtain popular knowledge you only need to belong to a certain community, even temporarily. On the contrary, scientific knowledge is reserved for those initiated into a formal path of learning technical and highly specialized, since it is not understandable by anyone of course.

For example, anyone can know more or less when it rains in a region determined, since custom and experience allow it. On the other hand, a climate specialist can explain these phenomena and even make climate predictions, since it is his area of ​​scientific expertise and has the conceptual tools to do so.

Other types of knowledge

Other forms of knowledge are:

  • Scientific knowledge. It is derived from the application of scientific method. It starts with hypothesis that arise from the observation of reality, in order to demonstrate through experiments what are the laws that govern the universe.
  • Empirical knowledge. It is acquired through direct experience, repetition, or participation. It does not require an approach to the abstract, but arises from the observation of the things themselves.
  • Philosophical knowledge. It follows from the thought human, in abstract. Employs various logical or formal reasoning methods, which are not always directly apparent from the reality, but from the imaginary representation of the real.
  • Intuitive insight. It is acquired without a reasoning formal. It arises quickly and unconsciously, the result of processes that are often inexplicable.
  • Religious knowledge. It is linked to the mystical and religious experience. They are knowledge that studies the link between the human being and the divine.
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