The Myth of Objectivity

The Myth of Objectivity - practiced by the Khmer Rouge in...

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The Myth of Objectivity Many often claim to strive for objectivity. Objectivity is sought both in the subject under study and as a strategy for teaching students. At some level, however, the concept of objectivity is a myth. What appears objective may simply be a political event . The positions defined and accepted as objective may, in fact, represent the positions of people, organizations, or governments who happen to hold power . While objectivity in the strictest sense is a myth, it is at least possible, and desirable, to strive for a common understanding . Often, social concepts and even vocabulary is vague. For example, many may state a desire to reduce levels of inequality in the U.S. What, exactly, does 'reducing inequality' mean? Do we mean 'equal opportunity' as inferred by affirmative action? Do we mean reducing the income-gap or wealth-gap between the wealthiest and poorest in our society? Or, do we mean 'radical leveling' as
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Unformatted text preview: practiced by the Khmer Rouge in the Killing Fields of Cambodia? How can we recognize whether we have achieved our goal? Arguably, Cambodia had greater 'equality' between citizens in 1978 than the United States now has. I doubt, however, that many would consider their means or ends desirable. What is an Operational Definition? In order to explore important social issues a common ground and a common language is necessary. An operational definition is a precise way used to measure variables (Henslin 2008:20-21). For example: Regarding inequality, we might devise a poverty threshold. Poverty rates are something most people understand. Poverty rates are by no means perfect, but at least when we talk about a 'poverty rate' we all tend to understand what we mean when we discuss poverty....
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