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Objectivity and Subjectivity in Social Research
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Objectivity and Subjectivity in Social Research



October 2012 | 200 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Objectivity and subjectivity are key concepts in social research. This book, written by leading authors in the field, takes a completely new approach to objectivity and subjectivity, no longer treating them as opposed - as many existing texts do - but as logically and methodologically related in social research.

The book debates:

  • The Philosophical Bases of Objectivity and Relativity
  • Situated Objectivity
  • Theorized Subjectivity
  • Relationism and Dynamic Synthesis
  • Social Objects and Realism
  • Objectivity, Subjectivity and Public Social Science

The authors explain complex arguments with great clarity for social science students, while also providing the detail and comprehensiveness required to meet the needs of practicing researchers and scholars.

 
Introduction
 
The Philosophical Bases of Objectivity and Relativity
 
Relationism and Dynamic Synthesis
 
Situated Objectivity in Sociology
 
Theorized Subjectivity
 
Social Objects and Realism
 
Objectivity and Subjectivity in Practice
 
Objectivity Established? A Trialogue
 
References
 
Index

This book is a positive contribution towards mutual understanding in the sometimes fractious debates about epistemology in social research. The authors each bring to bear a depth of knowledge, and engage in a novel 'trialogue' around their perspectives. If you want to get to grips with the issues in thinking about objectivity and subjectivity, you couldn't do better than to read this book.
Rosalind Edwards
University of Southampton


The editors provide solid and accessible accounts of major debates today, their histories, and why they matter. Best of all, after presenting the particular interests that drew each into sociology in different eras, innovative discussions at the end of each singly-authored chapter enable them respectfully to interrogate each other's interpretations of the issues. This brilliant strategy will draw students into the debates in a most engaging way.
Sandra Harding
University of California, Los Angeles


This book is a positive contribution towards mutual understanding in the sometimes fractious debates about epistemology in social research. The authors each bring to bear a depth of knowledge, and engage in a novel 'trialogue' around their perspectives. If you want to get to grips with the issues in thinking about objectivity and subjectivity, you couldn't do better than to read this book.
Rosalind Edwards
University of Southampton

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1


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Gayle Letherby

Gayle Letherby is an honorary professor of sociology at the University of Plymouth and a visiting professor at the University of Greenwich. Alongside substantive interests in reproductive and non/parental identities; gender, health, and well-being; loss and bereavement; travel and transport mobility and working; and gender and identity within institutions (including universities and prisons), she has an international reputation in research methodology. Expertise in this area includes feminist and qualitative approaches and in auto/biography and creative reflexivity (with reference to data collection and presentation). Gayle is currently a... More About Author

John Scott

John Scott is an Honorary Professor at the Universities of Essex, Exeter, and Copenhagen. He was formerly a professor of sociology at the Universities of Essex and Leicester, and pro-vice-chancellor for research at the University of Plymouth. He has been president of the British Sociological Association, Chair of the Sociology Section of the British Academy, and in 2013 was awarded the CBE for Services to Social Science. His work covers theoretical sociology, the history of sociology, elites and social stratification, and social network analysis. His most recent books include British Social Theory: Recovering Lost Traditions before 1950 ... More About Author

Malcolm Williams

Malcolm Williams is Professor and Director of the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University. Prior to joining Cardiff in 2010, he was Professor of Social Research Methodology and Head of the School of Psychosocial Sciences at the University of Plymouth where he taught for 16 years.Malcolm has designed and taught modules in the philosophy of social research for 18 years at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. In these he has introduced a number of innovative pedagogic techniques, such as Problem Based Learning and ‘Concept Speed Dating’, in which students take a key idea and move from table to table attempting to build... More About Author

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