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Whose side was Becker on? Questioning political and epistemological radicalism

Hammersley, M (2001). Whose side was Becker on? Questioning political and epistemological radicalism. Qualitative Research, 1(1) pp. 91–110.

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Howard Becker’s article ‘Whose side are we on?’ has been widely cited, and widely misunderstood. It has frequently been interpreted as recommending partisan research, or as suggesting that social research cannot be objective. This article examines Becker’s position in detail, arguing that while there are some ambiguities within it, what it proposes is neither epistemologically nor politically radical in the way that is frequently assumed. What is true, though, is that Becker believes that systematic and rigorous sociological research inevitably tends to have radical political implications. In addition, he adopts a form of cultural relativism, whilst holding on to a notion of objectivity that is grounded in a commitment to pragmatism.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2001 Sage Publications
ISSN: 1741-3109
Keywords: objectivity; relativism; researcher partisanship; value neutrality
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 20393
Depositing User: Users 9543 not found.
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2010 10:55
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2018 18:30
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