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.

The Dynamics of Science in Society

The Dynamics of Science in Society

Socrates has left us to make sense of the puzzling sentence: I know that I know nothing. The fatal irony into which scientific-technical society plunges us is, as a consequence of its perfection, much more radical: we do not know what it is we don’t know – but from this dangers arise, which threaten mankind!

(Beck 2006: 329)


If the contemporary era is characterised by anything, it is the speed, intensity and complexity of change. The reasons for this state of affairs have been attributed to advances in information technology, globalisation and capitalism, and this new epoch brings with it fragmentation, disaggregation and feelings of a loss of control, along with a turn to the apparent certainties ...

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