It is impossible to exclude feelings, personal views and judgments, since human beings the subject matter for sociology have feelings, emotions and consciousness. One can argue that Marx had just made a value judgment based on his own ideas on how the society should be run.
It can also be argued that though social stratification is said to be supporting status quo, it is functional in maintaining social solidarity by providing the most important positions in society to the most highly motivated and qualified people. Values and facts in the study of sociology cannot be separated. According to Alvin Gouldner, similar to a Minotaur, where the bull and the man cannot be separated, values enter every stage in sociology.
Domain assumption refers to the assumption made or things in the process of proving the theories that are taken for granted by the researches. Sociologists act on their taken for granted assumption. For example, functionalists claim that society is and will always be in the state of balanced and stabled. How do they know that society is always in the state of balance? Clearly their claim was based on assumption without any concrete proves.
According to Gouldner since value in the study of sociology are unavoidable the researchers need to declare and reveal it to others.. Though Durkheim in his study of suicide claimed to have used absolute scientific methods making his study value free, the use of statistical data was not sufficient enough to make it objective. His methods were said to resemble the realist method and not the positivist making it prone to arguments that his study was not objective. In his Methodology of The Social Sciences, Weber stated that all knowledge of cultural reality is always from particular points of view.
According to positivists, sociology can and should be value free. In two areas, positivism differed from idealism. According to positivists, since sociology is a branch in science, it must be seen as value free since it adopts scientific methods in carrying out its experiments and proving its theories. But it can be argued that simply because sociology adopts scientific methods, it may not be value free because values may come in every stages of the study of sociology.
The Positivists based their arguments on the fact that researchers are detached from their research and their results can be verified against other social facts. Phenomenologist on the other hand, do not believed that total objectivity in sociology is attainable since to them values enter every stage of sociology. According to phenomenologist, this world is categorized by human into phenomena. In the process of studying and understanding these phenomena, human being will continuously make sense of certain actions or events that happen everyday.
Similarly, researchers will try to make sense of human behavior using their own interpretation. Phenomenologist believed that sociology ultimate aim is not to establish causal explanation or try to uncover the very mysteries of human life but to categorize and making sense of the actions committed by the social actors. Becker believes that sociology cannot be value free.
He believes that sociologists should decide whose side are they on. Marxism emphasizes on studying social inequalities and conflict of interest, functionalism with its emphasis on finding ways to achieve stability in society and feminism emphasizes on patriarchal society. Another reason why sociology cannot be freed from values is its dependency on funding bodies to conduct experiments and funding the research.
Researchers are obliged to fulfill the interest of the funding bodies and may have little changes of crossing the line. People are self-conscious and interactive making asking any questions problematic. People have prejudices and can misinterpret the questions given to them when conducting experiments. This is an example of the Hawthorn effect.
He then claimed , that once a concept is generated, objectivity is possible. If however, a value relevant concept does not generate meaningful research that can be verified, then new value relevant concepts are required. In short once the topic has been conceptualised, research can be carried out objectively. Weber and the positivists therefore propose value neutrality no bias or prejudice whatsoever in research, but values what you see as important can influence many areas of the research process.
This makes objectivity very difficult to achieve. Values can enter the research process at different stages choosing which topic to research , obtaining funding, choosing a research method, operationalising key concepts, selecting appropriate questions, recording responses, interpreting findings, selecting which findings to include in the research report , deciding where the report will be published or what it will be used for.
These problems have led some sociologists such as the interpretivists to believe that facts cannot be separated from values in research and therefore Sociological research is a subjective process and cannot be objective which is in sharp contrast to the positivists. Interpretivists argue that sociology cannot be objective or value free because the subject matter of sociology is fundamentally different from the subject matter of the natural sciences.
People are social actors and have subjective motivations. People make sense of the social world through interpretation of meanings. We are not puppets, we think, we make decisions, for example two people may get married but it may mean something different to them individually as one may see it as being based on faithfulness and the other may see having an adulterous relationship as acceptable. Sociologists must therefore use qualitative methods in order to fully understand human behaviour because they allow insight into meanings and motives, methods such as participant observation and unstructured interviews as it allows the researcher to see the world as the subjects do.
Sociology cannot be value free as the researcher places so much emphasis on subjective nterpretation on the meanings, feelings and emotions of the person This is because interpretivists express a value position in their choice of topic and how they interpret their findings. Different researchers may therefore interpret the same event in different ways.
Interpretivists may generate rich and meaningful findings, but these findings are not replicable. Becker however believed that is impossible to carry out research that is uncontaminated by personal and political beliefs. All research is influenced by values, so the dilemma in research is to decide whose side we are on.
Becker maintains that we can never avoid taking sides because we should always analyse behaviour from the viewpoint of the actor. But it is crucial not to allow our sympathies for particular groups to render sociological research invalid. One way to achieve this is by clearly stating the limitations of the research. Value freedom may not be possible, but we can aim for validity. You willnotice that the Minotaur: The Myth of a Value Free Sociology', just as the introduction of Gouldner takes the mythical creature the Minotaur cannot be separated into man and essay in a different direction.
The bull, neither can values be separated from facts in sociology. He claims 16 Exam Success that early American sociologists who had been critical of Gouldner's argument. Can you American society came under attack from those in power and as think of different examples which a result began to lose their academic status.
In order to save equally demonstrate Gouldner's themselves, they created the myth of a value-free sociology and point? You need to develop the were no longer critical of American society. However, Gouldner confidence to apply theoretical claims that 'sitting on the fence' and saying nothing critical about debates to contemporary issues.
It will make your essays more He argues that if something is wrong in society, sociologists have enjoyable to read and write and a moral duty to speak out because silence concerning a social will show that you can make the inequality is as good as support for social inequality. For example, link between theory and practice. Gouldner believes that sociology is not and should not be value-free. Since the s, many modern sociologists have rejected the notion that a value-free sociology is either possible or desirable.
The interactionist Becker claimed that as the social world was mainly seen through the eyes of the powerful, sociologists should attempt to redress the balance by showing the social world through the eyes of the underdog. Hence, many pieces of re- search from the second half of the twentieth century have not been value-free, nor have they attempted to be. This trend was encapsulated in Parker's work View From the Boys, which shows crime from the point of view of those who commit it.
Marxist sociologists would go further than Becker by ad- vocating a form of sociology which is clearly political and there- fore not value-free. Marxist sociology not only looks at the struc- tured inequalities of the social world, but it frequently gives a prescription to remove these inequalities as it perceives them to be immoral. This idea that sociology is political and therefore not value-free is not exclusive to left-wing writers. For example, the New Right apply right-wing explanations, laden with right-wing values, to the causes of social problems: Marsland criticises the Welfare State for creating a culture of dependency and advocates the destruction of the Welfare State as we know it.
Many sociol- ogists concur with Gouldner in believing that sociology is not and should not be value-free. The conclusion refers to, and In conclusion, it appears that contemporary sociology has lost its answers, the question. It also infatuation with value freedom. Most contemporary sociologists makes further reference to why a do not see a value-free sociology as either possible or desirable. It has been accepted that values which are present in every society Note that the question has been will become part of the socialisation process of any individual.
Regular reference ot are themselves guilty of their own right-wing bias through their the question will keep your essay preoccupation with maintaining the present capitalist social order.
However, Gouldner confidence to apply theoretical claims that 'sitting on the fence' and saying nothing critical about debates to contemporary issues. According to positivists, sociology can and should be value free. My involvement with student organizations in Japan and in the United States has provided me the opportunity to observe and compare their different cultural values. An abridgement by Otto Ruhle
Value freedom is often associated with objectivity. The view that a value-free sociology is both possible and desir- In this paragraph, I've explained able is most closely associated with the positivist perspective.
He claims 16 Exam Success that early American sociologists who had been critical of Gouldner's argument.