The debate on decolonizing the social sciences is intrinsically linked to debates about objectivity, subjectivity and positionality, because post-colonial scholars criticize the idea that “objective” knowledge is possible and argue that research findings are influenced by researchers’ subjectivity and positionality. However, when empirically addressing issues such as social or global inequality, objectivity and comparability would be direly needed. This dilemma is often hidden because the current postcolonial debate focusses on theory rather than methodology and methods and ignores differences in epistemic cultures. Using the German-language debates on objectivity and subjectivity, I illustrate that social science methodology has suggested some solutions to handling positionality, namely a reflexive methodology and empirically-founded epistemology; using social theory; using methods; and collaborating. I use my own research style to illustrate what applying these techniques might mean in research practice, and point to some blind spots which methodological research should address in future research, amongst them reintegrating theory and methods, overcoming power structures in the global system of science, handling language and decolonizing ethnography.
Nina Baur is Professor for Methods of Social Research, Department of Sociology, Technical University Berlin.
Hosted by Christian von Scheve
Zeit & Ort
08.07.2021 | 10:00 - 12:00
The lecture is taking place online. Please find the access link below.
Meeting Link (Webex)