Two Reflexivities in Current Social Science: Remarks on an Absent Debate
This paper traces and compares two different uses of the category of reflexivity in contemporary methodological debates in the social sciences. While a first use is strongly influenced by the textual turn in cultural anthropology, a second use is aligned with Pierre BOURDIEU's notion of "scientific reflexivity." Whereas the first use postulates an epistemological break with scientific modernity and argues for a perpetual contextualization and interrelation of research results and methods, BOURDIEU defends sociology’s claim of objectivity, which, according to him, can be redeemed through a reflexive objectification of sociological practice. Up to the present these two uses have existed in almost complete isolation from each other. They represent alternating reactions to, and reconstructions and translations of, poststructuralism and postmodernism in the social sciences.
reflexivity; epistemology; idiom; representation; objectivity; relationality; postmodernism; poststructuralism; modernity