The Politics of Social Research

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SAGE, Mar 9, 1995 - 200 pages
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Is social research political? Should it be political? What are the implications of the politicization of social research?

Recent years have seen a growing range of challenges to the idea that research should be governed by the principle of value neutrality. Critical, feminist, antiracist and postmodernist analyses have argued that social research is intrinsically political. In this stimulating and often controversial book, Martyn Hammersley weighs the arguments offered in support of these positions. He considers the fundamental issues that the debate raises about the nature of social research, its political dimensions and its contemporary relevance. At the same time he provides a robust defence of value neutrality as a constitutive principle of social research, and makes a reassessment of the role of research in modern societies.

Praise for The Politics of Social Research

For anyone interested in the nature of social research, who has enough grasp of the issues to access the text, this book is a must' - "British Journal of Educational Psychology

"All in all Hammersley has produced a text which provides us with much to think about. As I have said, certain chapters will, no doubt, attract considerable debate. Almost all of the chapters could stand alone but the broad political theme used to bring chapters and topics together works well almost always' - "Local Government Studies

"Not only is Hammersley a leading exponent of sociological research, he is also a key writer and thinker on the problems of undertaking research. This collection, some of which has been published elsewhere and some not, therefore is a welcome addition to the literature on social research... interesting and well-argued' - "Disability and Society

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Contents

Paradigm Lost? Positivism and its Afterlife in
1
A Critique ofCriticalResearch
21
On Feminist Methodology
45
a Critical Case
66
an Assessment of Textual Radicalism
85
Is Social Research Political?
100
The Liberal University and its Critics
145
References
163
Name Index
180
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

My early research was in the sociology of education. Later work has been concerned with the methodological issues surrounding social and educational inquiry. These include objectivity, partisanship and bias; and the role of research in relation to policy making and practice. Most recently I have investigated how the news media represent social science research findings.

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