Is social research political? Should it be political? What are the implications of the politicisation of social research? Recent years have seen a growing range of challenges to the idea that research should be governed by the principle of value neutrality. Critical, feminist, anti-racist and postmodernist analyses have argued that social research is intrinsically political. In this stimulating and often controversial book, Martyn Hammersley weighs the arguments offered in support of these positions. He considers the fundamental issues that the debate raises about the nature of social research, its political dimensions and its contemporary relevance. At the same time he provides a robust defence of value neutrality as a constitutive principle of social research, and makes a reassessment of the role of research in modern societies. "The Politics of Social Research" will be of interest both to scholars engaged in research across the range of social science disciplines, theoretical and applied, and to students on advanced undergraduate and graduate courses.
Martyn Hammersley is Professor of Educational and Social Research at The Open University. He has carried out research in the sociology of education and the sociology of the media. However, much of his work has been concerned with the methodological issues surrounding social enquiry. He has written several books, including: Reading Ethnographic Research (Longman 1991); What's Wrong with Ethnography? (Routledge 1992); The Politics of Social Research (Sage 1995); Taking Sides in Social Research (Routledge, 1999); Educational Research, Policymaking and Practice (Paul Chapman, 2002), Questioning Qualitative Inquiry (Sage 2008), Methodology, Who Needs It? (Sage, 2011), and What is Qualitative Research? (Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2013)