Strengths And Weaknesses Of Standard Positivism

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The map of sociological approaches, based on Johnson, Dandeker and Ashworth, involves four key concepts; standard positivism, social constructionism, critical realism and post structuralism. These theories help in the comprehension of sociological perspectives. Standard positivism’s main features relate to scientific methods and empiricism. Social constructionism’s main factors are to do with social construction of reality and social action being based on subjective meaning. Post-structuralisms key factors are culture being used to understand culture and the importance of language and discourse in the creation of reality. Nevertheless, in this essay my main focus will be on realism, what it is, its strengths and weaknesses in comparison to …show more content…
With realism it has another concept embedded sometimes called meta-reality, this concept encompasses the view that reality is seen as a whole rather than from a subjective, personalised point of view, as hypothesised with social constructionism. Positivism limits what a thing is by what can be known. Moreover, distinction between epistemology and ontology are drawn, thus the ‘criteria for existence is casual rather than just observational’ (Owens, 2015). Furthermore meta-realism then becomes the tool for the evolution of consciousness, allowing people to think further than just the empirical and understand that social action is meaningful and that reality is not just socially constructed, it is out there and it is real. Additionally it accepts the idea that the study of knowledge is possible. Realism recognises that to conduct research in the social sciences, certain philosophical assumptions have to be made, both about the object and the world that the object is situated. It could be said that the researcher may have to implement a ‘meta-theoretical perspective’ to proceed (Bhaskar, 2008). Objects at a basic level can produce more complex structures, this can be chemical or biological structures emerging from different objects. This highlights how realism focuses …show more content…
Sociologist Delanty, describes the ‘new realism as ‘anti-positivist and post empiricism, which wants to hold on to the possibility of naturalism’ (Delanty, 2005). Additionally critical realism observes realists ontology and regards the existence of facts and objects, while epistemology regards whether we can know them or not, and if objectively or subjectively. Realism comes in the form of two main, slightly opposing features; either you accept that facts and structures are real and independent of the human mind objectively, or you accept that we can experience things personally, subjectively. Sociology of knowledge involves an adequate understanding of reality, society and that society requires an enquiry into the manner in which reality is constructed. I believe critical realism represent the most sophisticated perspective from which to conduct social scientific research, it is able to understand and employ insights from the positivist and the constructionist perspective and present them in a ‘maximally inclusive’ point of view (Danermark & Bhaskar, 2006). Furthermore to some extent, realism acts as the middle ground to the debateable extremists views of that of the other concepts in the map of sociological approaches. Of all the slightly different realist positions,

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