Reflexivity—the critical examination of how we see the world—is integral to good research practice. From this state-of-the-art, accessible tour of its history and contemporary relevance, readers will learn of its importance to social research and to society generally. The text introduces a host of influential thinkers and their key ideas on reflexivity, and incorporates examples from a range of disciplines and research settings. Drawing on the authors’ extensive experience of real research settings, this book: • Pinpoints the importance of reflexivity in social research • Demonstrates its relevance to everyday life • Firmly locates the concept in the history of ideas • Explores key questions about the bases of knowledge and understanding • Presents key thinkers, concepts and issues in easy-to-understand learning boxes The result is a book that provides students and researchers in the social sciences with the knowledge and understanding necessary not only to examine the role of reflexivity in contemporary life, but to apply it in their own research practice.

Critique and Transformation

Critique and Transformation

A critical theory of contemporary society must include an account of the relation of status subordination to class subordination, misrecognition to maldistribution. Above all, it must clarify the prospects for emancipatory change for a time in which struggles for recognition are increasingly decoupled from struggles for egalitarian redistribution – even as justice requires that the two be joined.

(Nancy Fraser in Fraser and Honneth 2003: 59)


We have highlighted the constant interaction between theory and facts. Different authors have considered the relationship between the content, context and consequences of knowledge production (May with Perry 2011), revealing strong variations between those focusing on theoretical reason and those with a pragmatist or empiricist outlook. The search for certain knowledge and the denial ...

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