Scholarly detachment in scientific research is possible for many reasons. For example if I was doing a study on deviance in lower class family’s it would be easy for me to be influenced by my religion, culture, as well as emotions for feeling pity towards certain families. Therefore my research would be biased supporting the fact that everyday life is influenced by values, morals, etc… It is impossible for a sociologist or anybody doing a study or research not to get emotionally attached or involved in their work.
I agree with Bendix when he states that “Men of letters became “socially unattached” when they were emancipated from their subservience to the church and to private patrons” (Bendix 63-64). When you become socially involved in a group of certain issues that becomes all you know and all that influences your discussions and reasoning. Reasoning however to Marcuse is Knowledge or atleast should be based on knowledge. “Man, the individual, was to examine and judge everything given by means of the power of his knowledge” (Marcuse 358).
If every man judged or contributed or even made decisions based on his knowledge of the matter would we not all be scholarly detached because we all have different levels of knowledge depending upon our backgrounds, cultures, morals, IQ, potential, determination, etc… This is necessary because people who do the research and who are reading the research want to know if what they are reading is true and is biased.
That the worry affects both readers and researchers indicates that it lies deeper than the superficial differences that divide sociological schools of thought, and that its roots must be sought in characteristics of society that affect us all, whatever our methodological or theoretical persuasion. ” (Becker 239). The interference of biasness would interfere with the value of the work. Therefore I agree with Becker and how he thinks the issue is “not whether we should take sides, since we inevitably will, but rather whose side we are on” (Becker 239).
IF we were to as a group take a side then all sociological research would be known and understood as either influenced by other methods or simply knowledgeable. This would leave our work to be read by both those who agreed and disagreed with our method and leave room still for controversy. Maybe sociology would be split up into sociology of knowledge for those who are governed, according to Smith, and sociology of the mind, or to some extent like that where there would be two groups. Smith argues that the government controls all the diversity in society and there is not an in between (values etc.. , except when it comes to woman where she herself states that “we have learned as woman in sociology, that the discipline has not been one that we could enter and occupy in the same terms as men” (Smith 382).
This is bias herself because if she was to do a study woman would be her bias although she makes it clear in the beginning of her article that the government controls groups and the members of the groups contribute to the “body of knowledge” (Smith 379). Scholarly detachment ahs been criticized due to the readers and researchers because the value of the work is always being questioned upon biasness.
Is this work true and bias free and how would we know as readers if it was. A researcher or person who performed the study would not have to let us know if he/she had a bias opinion it would just state their facts. Everyone who also reads this material would have a different bias themselves on he/she’s work. This I believe adds to the study content itself. Everyone adds there own bias making the study more knowledgeable by looking at every perspective and being bias towards certain things allowing the study to be looked at all different kinds of lights. To my mind sociology cannot pursue value-free, self-less, objective and neutral research.
Everywhere you are all around you everyone is judging you in bias because everyone is different. At work, school, amusement parks, grocery stores, etc… everyone has their own opinion on you either because of you religion or culture, etc… because everyone has different knowledge on this depending on how they were brought up and there own biases, culture, etc… Bendix in his paper uses Kuhn as an example, Kuhn illustrates how men who did a study on paradigms had there own scientific community and later they would all split up to study certain aspects of this paradigms.
This shows us how yes knowledge will teach us how to do the math or learn the history dates but our own influences, needs, opinions will make our own decisions as to what we want to learn about. This could also be related back to a general teaching classroom. The teacher who went to college to learn how to become a teacher was taught by teachers who them selves had limitations as to what knowledge should be presented in class so that all her/his students would come out having the same knowledge about teaching and could go on to their own classrooms and act upon reason with it.
Although we all know that not every teacher is going to follow that criteria so other students will learn differently and all teachers and students will take in that information differently, learning form each others biasness. Smith on the other hand believes that society is already set up in societal groups and there is not variation. “The kinds of facts and events that matter to sociologists have already been shaped and given their character and substance by the methods and practice of governing.
Mental illness, crimes, riots, violence, work, satisfaction, neighbors and neighborhoods, motivation and so on- these are the constructs of the practice of government” (Smith 379). So basically if I am a white female in my twenties have never been arrested, live in a middle class neighborhood I would fit into a particular group set by the government not by my own opinion so that the government can have control and knowledge of society to learn how it works and functions.
As Bendix would argue theories are always changing there is no set answer because there re so many biases. This is shown in Smith’s article also where she contradicts herself as to say that woman are bias and are influenced by values etc… because they have so much more to worry about than man although it is clear that she feels that government has set entities for us and there is no variation. Marcuse however would also argue with both Bendix and Smith because he feels reason is knowledge and how a decisssion should be made.
All the knowledge you know about a subject should be how you react to that situation. So for example you are walking down a street and you see a tall black man who stops you to ask how to get to Cheery Street and all that you know about blacks is slavery and mostly always related to crime you would have to make a decision on whether or not to tell this person where Cherry Street is based on that not your own personal morals or your feel to help this man. Marcuse states that “The theory of society is an economic, not a philosophical, system.
There are two basic elements linking materialism to correct social theory: concern with human happiness, and the conviction that it can be attained only through a transformation of the material conditions of existence” (Marcuse 357). So going back to my example of the tall black man I would not only deny him of directions because of my knowledge but also because he would not help me move up on the hierarchal ladder by giving him these directions, he would not satisfy me because he could give me nothing in return. For example money, food, etc…
Simple gratification o me I would argue would not be that this man would give me money but that he would say thank you and I as a person would feel happy. My morals, values, culture, religion guide me along my journey to help me make decisions along my path of life not my job or economic status. This however may add a bias to my life but it is also influenced by so many of my other biases. In my opinion I feel that it is impossible to not be influenced by values, culture, etc… I also feel that all work is biased.
This however is a good thing because we have all these ideas coming in for when someone oppose the idea sated in a study and then there idea is opposed by someone else, etc, etc… then it is just this highway of information with different views on this one theory or perspective. If everyone thought like an essentialist that there is always an answer than there would not be such variation in society as we have today. Social constructionists, which whom I agree with, have this great way of looking at a matter.
They feel that there is a topic that is suggested then someone else adds their opinion and so on so that there is this topic with so many different added ideas that there is not one answer but many answer depending on who you are. A visual that I get in my head form this is the webs we use to have to draw in middle school when you were trying to type a paper. You would start of with your topic in the middle then connect to it your opinions and your opinions had sub opinions and your sub opinions had there opinions. Post modernism is also a good example of influenced concepts.
IT states that there is no concentrated effort responsible for our own change. There is no fact or fiction because who are you to tell me what to do and how to do it. The whole concept rejects theories that are not biased because there is no fact but the fact of what it is to us. What we create in our own minds is fact. What we know and what influences us is what our truth is. Smith would argue with this and state that the government knows our fact as to where we stand in society by a set concept or group that they put us in.
However when Bendix speaks of groups he states that we choose the group we want to be a part of which then in return allows us to make a desicision of where we want to go with what we have learned. For example if you are form Africa and cannot afford to buy clothing for your children to start school you will find a group that can help you do so. Lets say the group u join is a Mother with children who need clothes for school; you would learn how to sew because that’s what they do is this group.
This becomes all you know at the moment and when you have learned enough you go out and get a job were you can sew or you make the clothes at home. This shows how in Smiths article the government would class them as lower class in need of funds and put them on welfare, but they do not know the person individually and she was a fighter found her group and manage and to her she probably does not consider herself poor as the government would because she now can put clothes on her children’s backs.
The whole concept of biased studies to me is true. There is no possible way to not be biased about something you study because you are studying it because it interests you. IF we were to only make decisions and reason by the knowledge that we have we still would all be different because knowledge itself has flaws. Everyone learns what they want to learn or teaches what they want to teach because who is society or the government to state what to learn and how to learn it.
The world itself is a huge web of knowledge with different ideas and perspectives which allow us al to be biased towards topics, ideas, and concepts because we as humans are not perfect and there is no answer as too how we should live. Happiness is determined within oneself and we are who we think we are. The only thing that is fact is what we have created in our minds.