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Showing posts from February, 2019

Objectivity and Subjectivity

In Objectivity and Subjectivity in Social Research, which I wrote with Gayle Letherby and Malcolm Williams (Sage Publications, 2013), we set out an account of objectivity and truth in relation to the necesarilly subjective basis of social knowledge. This posting outlines a summary of the key arguments of the book.

Why are so many sociologists concerned with objectivity and the pursuit of ‘truth’ when our knowledge and understanding of the social world is so self-evidently subjective and partial? The conventional view in all the sciences has been that it is only by securing objective knowledge that we can be guaranteed that it is true and that we can therefore avoid the claims of our critics that we are biased in our viewpoint and are merely parading ideology in the guise of science. This is an important justification of the search for objectivity, but many critics, especially in the social sciences, have argued that it is unrealistic: objectivity is seen as impossible and truth as unat…