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Situatedness – whose truth? The ethics and politics of research.

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1 Situatedness – whose truth? The ethics and politics of research

2 Against ‘the god trick of seeing everything from nowhere’ ‘insist on the embodied nature of all vision and so reclaim the sensory system that has been used to signify a leap out of the marked body and into a conquering gaze from nowhere’ ‘an argument for situated and embodied knowledges and an argument against various forms of unlocatable, and so irresponsible, knowledge claims’

3 There is no unmediated photograph… in scientific accounts of bodies and machines; there are only highly specific visual possibilities, each with a wonderfully detailed, active, partial way of organizing worlds. All these pictures of the world should not be allegories of infinite mobility and interchangeability but of elaborate specificity and difference and the loving care people might take to learn how to see faithfully from another’s point of view… That’s not alienating distance; that’s a possible allegory for feminist versions of objectivity. Understanding how these visual systems work… ought to be a way of embodying feminist objectivity.

4 Feminist objectivity “how to have simultaneously an account of radical historical contingency for all knowledge claims and knowing subjects, a critical practice for recognizing our own ‘semiotic technologies’ for making meanings, and a no-nonsense commitment to faithful accounts of a ‘real’ world...” (Haraway, 1991)

5 Feminist objectivity “… All components of the desire are paradoxical and dangerous, and their combination is both contradictory and necessary” (Haraway, 1991)

6 Haraway: ‘The standpoints of the subjugated are not ‘innocent’ positions. On the contrary, they are preferred because in principle they are least likely to allow denial of the critical and interpretive core of all knowledge’ Spivak: ‘the danger of appropriating the other by assimilation’ (‘Can the subaltern speak?’)

7 Double Consciousness ‘being a problem is a strange experience – peculiar even for one who has never been anything else… it is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the Eyes of others, or measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.’ (Du Bois, 1903)

8 Ethics I Fairness Responsibility Public knowledge Ethics committees and Relational ethics Are there things we have a responsibility to research? … or to NOT research?

9 Ethics II Informed consent Confidentiality Anonymity Access to findings (and authorship) Self-care Other researchers

10 SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT 1 Drawing on any two sociological readings of your choice, compare and contrast a study of your choice from any one tradition of social research with a study selected from another tradition. In doing so, you should pay particular attention to: the theoretical and methodological assumptions underpinning these studies and the traditions from which they derive similarities as well as differences in these studies the relationship between research problem, theory and method in the two studies

11 SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT 1 Ensure both studies are sociological (check with convenors if in doubt) Ensure both readings are research studies so that you can discuss problem, theory and method They do not have to be on the same ‘topic’, but this may help you to draw out similarities and differences Identify which ‘traditions’ they fit within – e.g. positivist, feminist, critical realism, action research… and reference other works Write about (1) the specifics of each study, and (2) their wider context within sociology and sociological research

12 Exercise Using the headings from the British Sociological Association (BSA)’s Statement of Ethical Practice (below) discuss in small groups Do you agree that these are all issues that should be considered before conducting social research? Why/why not? How would you deal with each of these issues in your proposed research project? Identify at least one issue that might be hard to resolve, to feed back to the whole class discussion for further debate. Professional Integrity Relations with and Responsibilities towards research participants Relationships with research participants Covert research Anonymity, Privacy and Confidentiality Relations with & Responsibilities towards Sponsors and/or Sponsors Clarifying obligations, role and rights Pre-empting outcomes and negotiations about research Obligations to sponsors and/or funders during the research process

13 Discussion Are there things we have a responsibility to research? … or to NOT research?

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