Objectivity & Values in Sociology - Coggle Diagram
Objectivity & Values in Sociology
CLASSICAL SOCIOLOGISTS & VALUES
Early positivists (Comte / Durkheim), sociology was to find how society worked & how to improve life
Sociologists would say whats best with scientific certainty
Marx saw himself as a scientists. He believed he'd discovered the truth about societies future & inevitability of classlessness.
distinguishes between value judgements and facts. He argues that value cant be proved or disproved by facts. However, he still sees an essential role for values in sociological research :
Values act as a guide - we only select areas according to their value to us
Data collecting & hypothesis testing - they must be objective when collecting facts, the hypothesis must be dependant on facts
Values in interpretation of data - facts need to be in a 'framework' to understand significance. this is influenced by their values which must be stated
Values & Sociologists as a citizen - they cant dodge moral issues that their work rasies.
Sees values as relevant - but they must be kept out of data.
Soc cant tell us what values / goals we hold. -> it tells us what means we should adopt if we want to achieve certain goals that we value - and the consequences of holding those values.
VALUE FREEDOM & COMMITMENT
20th century positivists
argued that their own values were irrelevant to research because science is concerned with fact not value, so socs remain neutral
Gouldner argues by 1950s, american socs had become spiritless, hiring themselves to the government -> dodging moral issues their jobs had caused. eg helping to prevent resolutions.
Myrdal & Gouldner argue that socs should identify their values & openly take sides. Without this theyre just selling their services.
Whose side are we on?
Interactionist Becker asked: if soc is influenced by values - whose side are we on?
Functionalists & Positivists have taken the view point of the powerful - police etc
Becker argues that we should take the of underdog (criminal)
Identifying with the powerless links to methods Inters favour eg participant observation -> reveals meanings of outsiders
Gouldner adopts marxist perspective - it's not enough to describe their life - end their oppression
Funding & Careers
Most research is funded by government. Whoever pays may influence its direction / questions
Funding bodies prevent publication if research results are unacceptable.
Socs may want to broaden their career, effecting topic chance.
They may censor themselves for fear of their career
Values, Perspectives & Methods
Gouldner - research is influenced by values // they influence topics concepts and conclusions and the methods
Objectivity & Relativism
If all perspectives ignore values, are their findings a reflection of them or facts? Relativism argues that:
Different groups have different views as to what is true & these reflect their values and interests
There is no way of judging if a view is truer then another
Relativism & Postmodernism
Postmodern = relative view -> no 'privaledged accounts' of society that have special access to the truth.
From a relativist standpoint, there is no single absolute or objective truth, what you believe is true, is true to you.
Any perspective claiming to have the truth is just a meta-narrative ('Big Story') based on values / assumptions