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What do early positivists believe about the creation of a better society?

They argue that it was not a matter of subjective values or personal opinions


What does Max Weber make a sharp distinction between? Give an example

Value judgements and facts. Research might be able to show that divorcees are more likely to commit suicide but it doesn't logically lead to the belief that we should make divorce harder to obtain


Weber thought that values were important in sociological research, and his views can be divided into 4 parts. What are they?

Values as a guide to research, Data collection and hypothesis testing, Values in the interpretation of data, Values and the sociologist as a citizen


Modern positivists argue that their own values were irrelevant. What are their 2 reasons for this?

The desire to appear scientific and the social position of sociology


What did Alvin Gouldner say sociologists had become?

'Spiritless technicians' who were making a 'gentleman's promise'


What sort of sociologist was Gunnar Myrdal?

A committed sociologist


What did Gunnar Myrdal believe?

That sociologists should spell out their values and openly take sides


Becker was a committed sociologist. Who did he believe we should take sides with?

The underdogs


What did Gouldner believe about a value-free society?

Gouldner thought a value free society was both impossible and undesirable


What do postmodernists believe about value freedom?

They believe that there is no one truth and that it would be stupid to think so


Give examples of two early positivists

Comte and Durkheim


What did early positivists such as Comte and Durkheim believe about the creation of a better society?

They believed that the creation of a better society was not a matter of subjective values or personal opinions but what was 'best'


What do early positivists argue to be sociology's job?

They argue the sociology's job was to discover the truth about how society works, uncovering the laws that govern its proper functioning, allowing social problems to be solved


What did Karl Marx believe about his method of historical materialism and historical analysis?

He believed that he could reveal the line of development of human society


According to Marx, what did his ideas about development involve?

An evolution through a series of different types of class based society, leading ultimately to a future classless communist society, in which exploitation, alienation and poverty would be ended, and each individual would be free to fulfil their true potential


Who tends to control the direction research takes and the kinds of questions that it asks and fails to ask?

The body that pays for the research


What is a consequence of funding organisations being in control of research?

The sociologists work is likely to embody and reflect the values and interests of their paymasters


What does relativism argue?

That different groups, culture and individuals have different views as to what is true and that there is no independent way of judging whether any view is truer than any other


Who takes a relativist view of knowledge?