Theory - Objectivity & Values Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Theory - Objectivity & Values Deck (13):

What are values?

Beliefs, opinions, prejudices influenced by gender, ethnicity, upbringing and experiences.


What do “early positivists” think about objectivity?

Objectivity is possible and desirable in research.


What do Comte & Durkheim think about objectivity/values in research?

Value freedom - society should be studied objectively and scientifically.
Job of sociology - use scientific methods and uncover objective truth to fix social problems & improve human life.
Job of sociologists - identify with certainty the best way to organise social life.


What does Marx think about objectivity/values in research?

Saw himself as a scientist , historical analysis could reveal line of development of society, thought he discovered truth about future and classless society.


What do “late positivists” think about objectivity?

Objectivity is impossible (objectivity through neutrality).


What is meant by objectivity through neutrality?

It is not the sociologists job to fix society, it is their job to highlight objective facts to policy makers, they should remain neutral, it is not their job to comment on anybody’s behaviour and they should not worry about the moral implications of their research.


What 3 things does Weber think about objectivity?

Values guide research - society is infinitely huge made from may components, sociologists study what they find interesting.
Values aid data interpretation - different theorists reach different conclusions, should state their values to give context.
Sociologists are citizens - researchers shouldn’t ignore moral implications and should take responsibility for application.


What does Gouldner think about objectivity?

Agrees with Weber, criticises researchers who “sold their soul” to plead their employer, they’ve become “spiritless technicians” with no passion for their subject, no longer problem makers have become problem takers who hire themselves to organisations to solve thins for them.


What is committed sociology? (Myrdal & Goffman)

Myrdal - stick to own given values in research, sociologists should take sides and should show support for interest groups (stand up for the underdog).
Goffman - asylum observation, record of negative labelling & mortification of self & master status, published to show impact of institutions on vulnerable members.


What is funding and careers?

Research is funded and controlled by an external paymaster who influence questioning and choose to publish research.
Sociologists wanting to further their careers, choose topics that are trendy or will get publication, censor selves so not to hurt job prospects when doing controversial research.


What is perspectives and methods?

The researchers perspective is influential to the topics they choose and they conclusions they make.
Marxism - society is conflict ridden and strives for classlessness.
Feminism - society is based on gender inequality and promotes women’s right.
Functionalism - society is harmonious and supports conservative values along the status quo.


What is objectivity and relativism?

Different groups, individuals and cultures have different views about what is true, there is no single way to prove something is true, what one believes is true to them.


Example of objectivity in the real world.

Human Terrain Systems - anthropologists working for the army to find out information from the local society where their armies are kept or what the opposing army’s plans are, report back to own army ignoring consequences to those they spoke to.