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21 Eylül 2011 Çarşamba

Being Blind in Researches and Problems of “Good Methods”: on Smith's Method of Making Sociology

The subject and the methods of sociology, according to Smith, separate it from the social world and therefore needs to be reorganized. This reorganization suggests internalizing both the sociologists and their everyday social life to what they are studying sociologically. In that way, a special social relationship will be constructed between the observers and the objects of what they are observing through which the sociologists can grasp the meanings of their “knowledge” in different contexts and become a member of the group which is studied. Therefore, in situating the self “within” the experiences will not only make us to understand the outcomes of particular actions, but also about the ways how they are done in different cases. Then there will be no practice that directly or indirectly sees the members of the group which we contribute our work as “alien other”.
The way which Smith suggests is actually inferred by Clifford Geertz in Interpretation of Cultures, he referred to a kind of system of interpreting the socio-anthropological phenomenon by being part of them to understand and grasp the meanings of “what is really happening”, “how is happening” and “what makes it to happen” in a particular culture. Scientist basically situating him/herself out of the ongoing location will be failed because of not differentiating the reasons behind the socio-cultural actions, rituals etc.
Both authors’ “radical” ways of studying the peoples are unique and much more useful than the methods that we use today. However, when it comes to studies on the masses, it is really hard to internalize yourself within the masses and draw conclusions about the consequences of social actions. For instance, last weekend I had to make a survey on 100 people in three different shopping malls, in one way I really wanted to analyze the relation between me and “them”, and for a while I acted as a one who is being studied. Unfortunately, increasing tension of the participants, as I acted like them, and decreasing disclosure between me and “them”, made my work really disconnected from what I planned to do there. The ethnographic ways therefore are more useful in different paths of sociology, such as doing a field work and so on. In my opinion, they are generally excluded from the other methods due to dynamism of masses and consuming too much time to construct “strong” relations.

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