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Objectivity in Social Research

6. The Rejection of Objectivity

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this lecture, we think about arguments which reject the idea of objectivity itself, focusing in particular on: (i) the rejection of objectivism; (ii) the relativist position that we can only know our own subjective perspectives on the world, and that objectivity is impossible; (iii) the argument that researchers should therefore admit that their research is merely an expression of their subjective perspectives; (iv) the rejection of the use of scientific language in social research.

Course

In this course, Professor Martyn Hammersley (The Open University) explores the concept of objectivity within sociology and social research. In the first lecture, we think about the development of the concept from the early twentieth century and some key questions associated with it. In the second lecture, we examine Max Weber’s notion of value freedom. In the third lecture, we look at the objectivist version of objectivity as the adoption of standardised, replicable research methods. Next, we consider Alvin Gouldner’s critique of value freedom and his idea of objective partisanship. In the fifth lecture, we review standpoint epistemology through Sandra Harding’s work on strong objectivity. In the sixth lecture, we explore arguments that reject objectivity in its entirety. In the seventh and final lecture, we conclude with a summary of key debates.

Lecturer

Professor Martyn Hammersley is Emeritus Professor of Educational and Social Research at the Open University. His work focuses on issues in sociological research methods, particularly relating to objectivity and bias. His recent publications include The Concept of Culture: A History and Reappraisal (2019), The Radicalism of Ethnomethodology: An Assessment of Sources and Principles (2018) and The Limits of Social Science: Causal Explanation and Value Relevance (2014).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Hammersley, M. (2021, August 24). Objectivity in Social Research - The Rejection of Objectivity [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/objectivity-in-social-research/the-rejection-of-objectivity

MLA style

Hammersley, M. "Objectivity in Social Research – The Rejection of Objectivity." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 24 Aug 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/objectivity-in-social-research/the-rejection-of-objectivity

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