Monday, September 17, 2012

Critical discourse

In sociology the degree that sociologists adhere to the concept of value free has led to more than one heated debate. Very roughly speaking the two broad perspective in sociology are rational discourse i.e. value free, and critical discourse i.e. sociology as advocacy. The first Weber or Durkheim strongly adhere to the position that as a science sociology should and must remain neutral while conducting the research. It is not our job to take a stand, but to carry out our study as objectively as possible and let the facts speak for themselves.
Critical discourse, depending on the degree that one adheres to this position, would argue that true value free is both impossible and immoral.  The sociologist is a member of the larger society.  Because of this she is responsible for her research and the applications of that research. All scientists have an agenda in part defined by her position in society. Sociology is not only a science, but also a guide to social action, whether we accept the responsibility or not.

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