A. CONTEXTS OF RESEARCH
Lecture 1, September 5, 2019:
Introduction to the Course
Administrative concerns: grades and assignments; readings; tutorial participation; course protocol
Review of syllabus: Preview of course content, themes and problematics
knowledge as Mediated: "a matter of opinion"
Overview of themes and levels of analyses (macro/mecro/micro) --- key concepts.
Introductions, what is ‘research’? Why is it important?
Justice, Rights and Inequalities as Generic Processes and Structures
Required Readings: Alan Bryman and Edward Bell (2019) Introduction
What is research? What is research for, and for whom?
How do different academic disciplines view knowledge, knowledge production, research and its purposes/goals?
The message and the method of the course are deliberately oppositional, challenging disciplinary canons and the totalizing view of traditional “common sense”.
(Being: subjectivity / consciousness)INSTITUTIONS
(Behaviour, means )
- i) Assumptions and forms of social analyses, modes of reasoning: nature and knowledge
- ii) Scientific a priori reasoning; Knowledge and opinion; Values, consent and “common sense”
knowledge and practices of knowing
The Significance of Ideology to KNOWLEDGE
Ideological blinders often prevent us from challenging our own basic values and assumptions; if we don't challenge the pursuit of knowledge, in large part, by being helped to break free from the cave of opinion.
Echoes, shadows, windows, mirrors and mimicry, fog and smoke
-- slogans and cliches
The processes of education, formal and informal, direct and indirect, are major sites of ideological reproductions (Althusser 1971) which influence more than our opinions but rather firmly entrench a certain consciousness.
It is only by encountering the real life experiences that one can fully realize the insidious ways in which hegemony operates to control thinking.
Ideological blinders often prevent us from challenging our own basic values and assumptions.
The pursuit of knowledge is, in large part, an escape from the dark and yet comfortable cave of ready made opinions which continue to judge differences, colonize compliance and shackle the imagination.
Ideology becomes part of a general “knowledge”.
Knowledge as Ideology
“Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both. Yet men do not usually define the troubles they endure in terms of historical change and institutional contradiction. ... The sociological imagination enables its possessor to understand the larger historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and the external career of a variety of individuals. ... The first fruit of this imagination--and the first lesson of the social science that embodies it--is the idea that the individual can understand his own experience and gauge his own fate only by locating himself within this period, that he can know his own chances in life only by becoming aware of those of all individuals in his circumstances. ...We have come to know that every individual lives, from one generation to the next, in some society; that he lives out a biography, and that he lives it out within some historical sequence (CW Mills, The Sociological Imagination, 1959:3-10).
knowledge (episteme) and opinion (doxa)
What Do We Really Know
Knowledge as Order and Ordering Perspective
Knowledge as property
Knowledge as power
What is Knowledge?
Opinion? Observation? Certainty?
SERVITUDE OF THE CERTITUDE
Critical awareness is not bound by a servitude to certitude nor by a carceral culture of ignorance. Contradictions characterize accommodations to “ knowledge”
Is Knowledge Possible?
The Ways to Knowledge
deference to discipline become common-sensical
WHAT IS RESEARCH?
-- Research Problems
-- Ways of Understanding
How to Acquire Knowledge