Lynch, M. 2000. “Against Reflexivity as an Academic Virtue and Source of Privileged Knowledge.”

Lynch, Michael. 2000. “Against Reflexivity as an Academic Virtue and Source of Privileged Knowledge.” Theory, Culture, and Society 17 (3): 26-54.

Reflexivity claimed as a methodological virtue, but multiple definitions and applications muddle how we practice and interpret it – creates a lack of uniformity. Aids to increase objectivity, but at the same time works to undermine objectivity. Reflexivity as related to particular ideas regarding social reality and human nature; prescribes an ethnomethodological application of reflexivity that does not privilege theoretical or methodological standpoint. Discusses how reflexivity is used in communications (as a way to gain feedback in interactional processes, identity formation), as a means to organize cultural and historical stages, as a part of social self-construction, as introspection to self-knowledge, as a methodological prescription in qualitative study to correct biases, as a varying application in methodologies, a mode to self-deprecate or “confess”, or as a means to demonstrate proficiency in creating a more “mature” social science, as a means of integrating or detaching from observations or cultures, as a means to reflect on social location and categorical belonging, a means of contemplating a text, or as a way to absorb imagery, as an all-encompassing means to enter/frame social world, and a system of accounting practices (method and theory) that works to ethnomethodologically explain systems of action within the social world.

How does effectiveness, rationality become locally constructed and historically stabilized?
How does one “succeed” in “attaining” reflexivity?
What information and qualification becomes excessive, in the contextualization of “objective” facts?
What is really “radical” or superior about contextualization?


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