Sociology Index



The term 'objectivity' is used in two distinct but related ways. Objectivity in Social Science refers to the actions of a social scientist: assuming a position of disinterestedness or impartiality, or being open-minded in the assessment of evidence. Objectivity is thought to be central to the procedures of the scientific method. Objectivity also refers to the nature of the statements people make: a statement can be objective as opposed to the scientist being objective. An objective statement is one which can be agreed upon by others regardless of their backgrounds or biases.

Objectivity in Social Science - Toward a Hermeneutical Evolutionary Theory 
Ricardo Waizbort, Casa de Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz, Brazil, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Vol. 34, No. 1, 151-162 (2004)
Austin Harrington’s book, Hermeneutic Dialogue and Social Science:

A critique of Gadamer and Habermas, intends to present an account of debates on objectivity in the social sciences, in stressing the political and epistemological responsibility, in public spheres, to those who want to create a fairer understanding of societies and history, without demonizing natural enterprises or leaving social studies out of acute critical questioning.

The objectivity norm in American journalism 
Michael Schudson, University of California, San Diego, USA 
Journalism, Vol. 2, No. 2, 149-170 (2001)
Why did the occupational norm of objectivity arise in American journalism? This question has attracted the interest of many journalism historians but it has not previously been examined as an instance of a more general social phenomenon, the emergence of new cultural norms and ideals. Reviewing the history of the professionalization of American journalism, this essay identifies the late 19th and early 20th century as the period when these conditions crystallized.

Alternative technological and economic explanations of the emergence of objectivity are criticized and the difficulty of understanding why objectivity as a norm emerged first and most fully in the United States rather than in European journalism is discussed.