File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_2000/bourdieu.0002, message 62

Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2000 12:45:25 +0000
Subject: Re: Intellectual violence

Deborah Kilgore wrote:
> >> >I think he is distinguished on this on the basis of his being systemic,
> >> >so to speak.  Postmodern sociology's notion of reflexivity is very
> >> >individualist and self-focused; what Gellner called 'narcissistic
> >> >hermeneuticism'.
> >
> >To add to this: I feel there is a danger that PB's use of reflexivity is
> >liable to be appropriated in this way, as being a kind of
> >autobiographical reflexivity.
> >
> Hi Karl.  
Hi Debbie. 

> On the other hand, in doing qualitative research, there is a
> little bit to be said for _some_ autobiographical reflexivity.

Of course.  However, this is not reflexivity in toto.  Indeed, it is not
reflexivity really at all, but shall we say reflection.  It is what
trainee teachers are taught to do under the title 'reflective
practitioner'.  Reflection is a good term: often they look into their
data and see nothing but themselves.  Autobiogrpahical reflection is not
the same as reflexivity over the construction of the object and its
empirical investigation.  

I also see reflexivity as linked to issues of (tiredness after an
overnight writing session means I cannot think of the right term....)
what we could call declaration and openness.  I mean the willingness to
say (to quote Leavis) "This is so, isn't it", i.e. make definite
statements with which others can agree / disagree.  This is too often
abused as 'arrogance', when it is merely running the risk of being shown
to be wrong.  The only way to avoid being proved wrong is to say
nothing.  Secondly, the question of laying open and being explicit about
the way in which these statements were reached.  

With best wishes,


Karl Maton
School of Education, University of Cambridge

Correspondence address:
108 Avenue Road Extension, Leicester LE2 3EH
Tel: 0116 220 1066

I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heartís affections and
the truth of the imagination


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