Ideology and the Social Sciences

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

Science defenders obviously believe in objectivity and truth. Critics of science, with the exception of postmodernists, also believe in the possibility of objectivity and truth. What may be emerging in this contentious debate about how knowledge is produced and used is a recognition that truth will have to be negotiated by an expanded pool of consequential actors with the right to speak. "Experts" from the professions and academic disciplines, and political and economic elites, will be joined by groups representing other interests and values to collectively shape the production and use of knowledge relevant to the larger society. A combination of cognitive and value judgments will be needed to deal with real-world problems, and knowledge will be socially and democratically situated.


NOTE

We acknowledge the assistance of and thank the following students for their participation in the collection of interview data: Greg Carender, Changfu Chang, Constance Chay, Michael Dennis, Shiv Ganesh, Matt Hoevel, Nate Letsinger, Abby Lyon, Jennifer McKinney, Linda Orr, Michael Schlehuber, and Jennifer Wille. We also thank Harry Epstein for his helpful comments on an earlier draft of this chapter.

1.
As an example of how to read Table 1, look down the left column of attitudes toward science to the third item under Science and Politics, namely "Approve of Corporate Funding of Science." Reading across horizontally, we find that feminists and environmentalists show a -/+ rating. This means that both these groups had mixed responses, but that they leaned slightly toward disapproval. The fundamentalists and the political right gave ratings of +, indicating that a strong majority of these groups favored the practice. The political left, on the other hand, rated the item -, showing strong disapproval on the part of this group. The general leaders group result was the fourth possibility, a +/-, indicating that its members gave a mixed response, but that they inclined somewhat more to a positive than to a negative view of this practice.

REFERENCES

Broad William, and Nicholas Wade. 1982. Betrayers of the Truth. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Chubin Daryl E., and Edward Hackett. 1990. Peerless Science. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Gross Paul R., and Norman Levitt. 1994. Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press.

Jones James H. 1983. Bad Blood: The Tuskeegee Syphilis Experiment. New York: Free Press.

Merchant Carolyn. 1992. Radical Ecology: The Search for a Livable World. London: Routledge.

Merton Robert K. 1982. Social Research and the Practicing Professions. Cambridge, MA: Abt Books.

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