This unusually innovative book treats reflexivity, not as a philosophical conundrum, but as a practical issue that arises in the course of scholarly research and argument. In order to demonstrate the concrete and consequential nature of reflexivity, Malcolm Ashmore concentrates on an area in which reflexive "problems" are acute: the sociology of scientific knowledge. At the forefront of recent radical changes in our understanding of science, this increasingly influential mode of analysis specializes in rigorous deconstructions of the research practices and (...) textual products of the scientific enterprise. Through a series of detailed examinations of the practices and products of the sociology of scientific knowledge, Ashmore turns its own claims and findings back onto itself and opens up a whole new era of exploration beyond the common fear of reflexive self-destruction. (shrink)
’Death’ and ’Furniture’ are emblems for two very common (predictable, even) objections to relativism. When relativists talk about the social construction of reality, truth, cognition, scientific knowledge, technical capacity, social structure and so on, their realist opponents sooner or later start hitting the furniture, invoking the Holocaust, talking about rocks, guns, killings, human misery, tables and chairs. The force of these objections is to introduce a bottom line, a bedrock of reality that places limits on what may be treated as (...) epistemologically constructed or deconstructible. There are two related kinds of moves: Furniture (tables, rocks, stones, etc. - the reality that cannot be denied) and Death (misery, genocide, poverty, power - the reality that should not be denied). Our aim is to show how these ’but surely not this’ gestures and arguments work, how they trade off each other, and how unconvincing they are, on examination, as refutations of relativism. (shrink)
This commentary identifies a range of flaws and contradictions in Parker’s critical realist position and his critique of relativism. In particular we highlight: (1) a range of basic errors in formulating the nature of relativism; (2) contradictions in the understanding and use of rhetoric; (3) problematic recruitment of the oppressed to support his argument; (4) tensions arising from the distinction between working in and against psychology. We conclude that critical realism is used to avoid doing empirical work, on the one (...) hand, and to avoid scholarly interdisciplinary engagement, on the other. (shrink)
This essay argues that the really useful character of reflexivity is that it enables a radical critique of representation and its conventional material and rhetorical practices. It is uniquely able to produce paradox and thus disrupt discourses by undermining authorial privilege. Because Fuller's social epistemology is insensitive to its own reflexive implications, and limits itself to normative questions about knowledge policy, it is too limited — and limiting — to provide a context that can nurture reflexivity.
This article analyzes the demarcations made within psychology as a feature of the “memory wars”—the current controversy around “recovered” or “false” memory. As it is played out inside professional psychology, the dispute features clinical practitioners acting largely as proponents of recovered memory and experimentalists as proponents of false memory. Tracing a genealogy of this dispute back to a pair of original sites, we show how the traditions’engagement in three modes of scientific demonstration varies systematically in terms of the modes of (...) social relation inherent in their epistemic practices and the kinds of “reliable witness” these practices produce. We conclude that whereas the experimentalist tradition is able to transporttheir produced witnesses from oneto anothersite of demonstration with relative ease, the clinical tradition has much greater difficulty in doing so and thus has to engage in a variety of compensatory demonstrative strategies. (shrink)