Bourdieu's Importance Of Reflexivity

Register to read the introduction… Bourdieu stresses the importance in reflexivity while conducting social research. The sociologist must at all times be aware of their own habitus, their position of thought and in life and how bringing this to research will affect the research outcome. According to Bourdieu it is impossible for our objectivity to remain unbiased and unprejudiced due to our preconceived habitus. It is only by maintaining such a continual vigilance that the sociologists can spot themselves in the act of importing their own biases into their work. Reflexivity is, therefore, a kind of additional stage in the scientific epistemology.
If there is a single feature that makes Bourdieu stand out in the landscape of contemporary social theory’, wrote Loic J.D. Wacquant (1992: 36), ‘it is his signature obsession with reflexivity.’ For Bourdieu, reflexivity is an epistemological principle which advises sociologists, as ‘objectifying subjects’, to turn their objectifying gaze upon themselves and become aware of the hidden assumptions that structure their research. Without this reflexive move, sociology cannot escape the ‘fallacies of scholasticism’ and loses its chances to provide a truly scientific analysis of the social
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Williams and Bendelow (1996), map the field of sociology of emotions onto the concerns of sociology: “emotions have fundamental implications for a range of pertinent sociological themes and issues including social action, agency and identity; social structure; gender, sexuality and intimacy; the embodiment of emotions across the life-course (from childhood to old age); health and illness; and the social organization of emotions in the workplace (formal and informal).”
Emotions play an important part in the field at a number of levels. It is important to realize that the researcher's identity and experiences shape the ideas with which they go into the field, their political and ideological stance, and there is an analytic cost if this interplay of person and research is not taken into consideration. The researcher takes assumptions and emotions into and generates emotions in the field about the researched. Kleinman and Copp (1993) suggest that if a researcher experiences negative emotions about their participants they would prefer to ignore, or repress those feelings, since to admit them might constitute a threat to their professional and personal identity. But these can be the very feelings (anger and disappointment perhaps) that could help the researcher to understand their own assumptions and their
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Lévi-Strauss showed that patterns we can observe in one level are invariably linked to and determined by similar patterns in other levels”. (Clark

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