Ideology and the Social Sciences

By Graham C. Kinloch; Raj P. Mohan | Go to book overview

3
The Theory of Sociological
Thought and the Research Process

Max Koch

In this chapter I raise the issue of how and to what degree a productive relation between epistemological principles and sociological thought is realizable in the research process. This chapter deals with our own field as sociologists: the connection of ideological forms with which one appropriates the social world and the production of sociological results. To serve this aim it is not necessary to add another approach to the long tradition of "ideology theory." Rather, I will make an attempt to apply this tradition to our practice as sociologists; in other words, I would like to contribute to a theory of sociological thought. First, I will discuss four sociological classics--Durkheim, Marx, Weber, and Comte--and relate them to epistemological preconditions for sociological thought. Second, I want to show how one can, if not overcome, nevertheless objectify ideological risks: I will argue that research completely free of ideology remains an unobtainable ideal, as research never can be carried out independently of particular interests. Therefore the most suitable course of action is to objectify both these interests and the researcher's standpoint within the academic arena.


IDEOLOGICAL TRAPS OF SOCIOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE

The science of sociology is necessary because there are external relationships independent of individual will and consciousness. They are "unconscious" in the sense that they are not accessible to simple reflection. That essential characteristics of relationships and their mode of appearance do

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