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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How to do Sociology, Part 2 (CH 2 of the SG)

The Ideal of Objectivity:

I. Objectivity: Personal neutrality, being detached from subjects (see Ch 3 of the SG). To apply the scientific method w/o personal biases.

Weber - People choose topics according to their belief & interests. (aka value relevant)
I agree, this is why I'm doing Race & Ethnicity for Section C due to my experience growing up in the US and Japan and the last 7 years I spent in South Korea.

Weber warned sociologists to be "Value Free", aka Objective. One way to limit distortion/bias is replication: Repetition of research by other investigators. If the same results are achieved then confidence is gained that the findings/results are accurate (reliable & valid).

Accurate = Reliable + Valid

II. LIMITS, to see the text I'm referring to and a more in-depth explanation, click HERE
1. Human behavior too complex to predict (Perhaps, interpretivism ontology?)
2. Presence of researcher may affect behavior of the subject.
3. Social patterns change, what is true in one time or place may not hold true for another.
4. Being value-free is difficult, because researchers are also part of this world.

III. Interpretive Sociology (aka Interpretivitism, see Ch 3): Basically pioneered by Weber, he believed that researchers should study the meaning that individuals attach to their actions.
Example: When Muslims fast during Ramadahn, the positivists may see it as members of this religion fasting for 30 days every year. Whereas in interpretivitism, we would see that through the fasting, by the physical cleansing through the fast, it is symbolic of the spiritual cleansing. It is also to remember the less fortunate in our society and to serve as a reminder to uphold one of the five pillars of Islam, which is "Charity".

Weber coined the term, "Verstehen" - In German, it literally means understanding, so the interpretive sociologists observes WHAT people do & WHY they do it.

IV. Positivism (discussed in the CH 3 notes) click HERE for more details

V. Critical Sociology - Rejecting the notion that society as a natural system within a fixed order. Focused on the study of society on the need for social/political change. (perhaps Marx, Comte?)
It contradicts Weber's notion of detatchment/objectivity. Critical sociologists want to use their findings to be the voice of those who do not have the power to speak.
Think of it this way:


I hope this will help you remember this better :)

Simply put, they believe that all social research is political or biased, they have no choice in this matter so they can choose which position to support.

Can you think of a moder critical sociological group today?
1. NOW (National Organization for Women)??? Are they Critical sociologists?
2. Greenpeace?
3. NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)

What do you think? Hope y'all leave a comment and write down your thoughts.

Tomorrow I will post the Research Orientation/Theory/Methods

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