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The Sociology Post

Objectivity and Truth in Facts and Values

7th May 2021

Science, morality, and politics are all highly contested areas and there has been a constant attempt to establish objectively valid statements about how the world is and how it ought to be. The idea of an objective social science, however, has often been linked with a view of value freedom that stresses the irreconcilable character of moral and political disputes. How, if at all, can there be objectivity in such disputes?

Functionalism Reconsidered

26th September 2019

Functionalism has had a bad press. It is routinely criticised for its conservative implications and for its misunderstanding of social processes. However, criticism is often based on a lack of understanding about what functionalism really is. Few critics actually read the key writings on the subject. Perhaps it is time to reassess functionalism and to consider whether it might have a lot to tell us about how societies operate.

Objectivity and Subjectivity

18th February 2019

In Objectivity and Subjectivity in Social Research, which I wrote with Gayle Letherby and Malcolm Williams (Sage Publications, 2013), we set out an account of objectivity and truth in relation to the necessarily subjective basis of social knowledge. This posting outlines a summary of the key arguments of the book.

Interaction and Social Structure

11th April 2018

Some of the most powerful approaches in sociology are those that analyse the interactions of individuals. These are often seen as in opposition to more abstract views of social structure. I want to argue that this is not the case and that the two approaches are complementary and imply each other. I will develop this argument in this post and will take the argument further in a later post.