Values and Sociology

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Values and Sociology
The Three Viewpoints
Value free and should be value free
Value laden
- Inevitably bring value into research
Sociologists who want to bring values into their research to change society
Value Free Sociology
Positivists
They argue sociology should be studied as a science (Durkheim)
Objectivity is key (personal opinions are kept out of research)
Sociology should be like physical sciences
- Studying phenomena which are independent of the research
Theories can be tested, proven or falsified
Structural theorists (society is separate)
Social facts are the statistics that are obtained from surveys and these should accurately
reflect the population
Personal beliefs are irrelevant so long as research is well designed
E.g. Peter Saunders
- Home ownership research
- Declared his own views but research was designed to avoid this
Research is checked by repeating research
Value Laden Sociology
Subjective
Interpretivists
Historical Context
Paying for research
Career Trajectories
Personal beliefs and interests
The domain of sociology
The postmodern critique
Foucault
Historical Context
Gouldner
Value free is based in a particular historical context
Weber suggested sociology was value free but he had to in order to secure sociology's
status rather than it actually needed to be value free
Traditional values were ruled to be ignored but Weber may have been saying this to avoid
the Government interfering
Paying for Research
There is more funding for research that interested them as funding is scarce
- Therefore the person paying chooses what is published
- Therefore values of the person paying and the researcher is thus interjecting values

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People won't pay for research they have no interest in
Career Trajectories
Gouldner
A researcher's research is likely to be influence by their desire to be `known' and their
ability to develop their own career than studying in a value free way
Values will inevitably creep into sociology
According to Cuhn ­ Current research reflects current paradigms
Personal Beliefs and Interests
All thoughts and actions are based on values and it is impossible to escape from this
Sociologists will study what interests them due to…read more

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Traditionally sociology has been studied from the point of view of the `powerful'; the
policeman, the teacher etc.…read more

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