SOCIOLOGY AS A SCIENCE

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Mind Map on SOCIOLOGY AS A SCIENCE, created by lizziesimon on 05/19/2015.

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SOCIOLOGY AS A SCIENCE
  1. WHAT IS A SCIENCE?
    1. natural/trad science has 5 key ideas: aims search laws, discover c&e relationships, aims base laws on objective facts via verification, to obtain facts must examine actual observable phenomena - empiricism, aims objective and value free - although idealised criteria
    2. YES, SOCIOLOGY CAN BE A SCIENCE
      1. positivism as illustrated Durkheim suicide study, argues poss/desirable apply logic and meths of nat sci to study of soc, objective knowledge gained this way basis solving soc problems/achieving progress, early positivists inductive approach - theories develop from obs/further obse verify theories, in soc deal people, including researchers may contaminate research - use meths allow max objectivity/detachment eg quant meth = experiments, Qs, structured interviews, OS
        1. key assumptions positivism: individuals constrained soc forces, Durkheim says soc study soc facts - measured objectively eg suicide rates, soc should aim discover c&e - laws govern human behaviour, use of quant meths create reliable data - should study measurable/observable data and examine correlations between variables
        2. NO, SOCIOLOGY CAN'T BE SCIENCE
          1. interpretivism argues soc can't be studied same way nat sci as subject matter fund different, people free will/exercise choice, individuals not puppets on string manipulated by external soc facts as positivists believe but are autonomous and constuct own soc world through meanings given to it, job sociologist uncover meanings and focus way individuals interact each other
            1. key assumptions interpretivism: humans have consciousness, interpret meanings make sense world, behaviour not product external soc but interpretations give to events, soc is product human interactions, soc should explain/understand how make sense situations via verstehen, use qual meths create valid data allows researcher see world as subjects do eg PO, UIs and expressive docs
            2. HOW SCIENTIFIC IS SCIENCE?
              1. many soc have questioned idealised view science as science itself criticism because objectivity demanded by scientific RM is diff to achieve even when subject matter not human, because: scientists humans so have values/make assumptions, scientists carry out work in orgs - funding impact research, scientists have status/soc standing to consider, scientists don't eant rock boat as career prospects to consider
                1. huge diff between what scientists and scientific meths nat sci claim be about/actually happens eg Thalidomide scandal 1960s, Popper believed meths nat sci could be applied soc sciences but that true science = deductive meth not inductive, deductive = start hyp and experiments test this against ev, keep testing if confimed assumed true new theory developed to explain phenomena, however Popper argues sociologists should falsify rather than support, science unique form knowledge due falsification
                  1. as can't know anything w/ absolute certainty isn't poss produce laws true for all time, longer theory stands test time more likely is be true, supported by Hawking (1988) 'no matter how many times results exp agree theory you can never be sure that next result won't contradict it'
                    1. Kuhn - normal science differs from idealised view science because operates within paradigm, paradigm shared by scientists shapes way see world studied, paradigm sets out appropriate meths for study and specifies what Qs scientists should ask, when work within paradigm try look data that supports it, tend adopt paradigm uncritically but anomalies gradually build confidence, paradigm declines and argument ensues, formulate rival paradigms start of scientific revolution, move one paradigm to another = massive shift mindset and new paradigms generally gain support from younger scientists as nothing to lose in terms reputation
                      1. Kuhn believes scientists blinkered - don't see alternative views/reject evidence doesn't fit, doesn't believe scientists objective, science doesn't evolve gradual accumulation of knowledge - revolutionary, change occurs one paradigm replaced by another, normal science resumes until next rev, soc can't be seen as science - it's pre-paradigmatic
                        1. Kaplan distinction between meth scientists claim use and meths actually use, illustrated by scientists who dismiss ev from experiments which contradict their hypotheses, in 1998 editor british medical journal claimed only 5% published articles reached min level scientific soundness - many clinical trials too small/most published studies pos ones with neg evidence hidden
                          1. Gomm argues science itself relative, uses Darwin's evolutionary theory illustrate this, believe theory only accepted Victorian England because fitted ideas of time eg survival of fittest and nat selection - helped explain why Britain ruled world and upper classes were in privileged position
                          2. CHANGING VIEWS OF SCIENCE
                            1. realists argue diffs between soc and nat world by soc science = still possible, Bhaskar states in soc and nat world underlying structures/mechs aim of realism uncover/explain these, much of soc is scientific this view, marxism scientific as sees underlying structures eg cap producing effects eg poverty, Sayer argues in scientific study there are open/closed systems: closed (eg lab) all variables controlled measured and open (eg meteorology) where not all var can be controlled and no precise predictions made
                              1. realists believe possible explain open systems/human behaviour terms underlying structures/mechs, in science underlying mechs may be unobservable eg pressure fronts in meteorology, science must go beneath surface whereas in soc aim uncover underlying soc structures/mechs eg patriarchy, using this definition soc can be scientific
                                1. pomo critical idea of scientific soc, beacuse regard nat sci as metanarrative claiming to have monopoly of truth, instead knowledge soc constructed and relative hence no truth only truths, fem equally critical soc as science arguing patriarchal upholding malestream values argue quant scientific methods favoured positivists oppressive and can't capture reality women's experiences hence emergence fem methodology
                                  1. Beck argued science hasn't always led progress that positivists believed it would, with emergence of risk soc we witnessed scientifically created dangers eg global warming undermines idea science inevitably benefits humankind
                                  2. CONCLUSION
                                    1. debate as to whether soc can or should be science is dependent upon definition of science, McNeil states that if accept realist def of science then a lot of soc = science
                                      1. is science a myth, considerable debate as to whether nat sci actually follows scientific principles, how can science be criticised for failing match up scientific ideals if true nat sci themselves fail achieve this
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