subjectivity

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subjectivity

the perspective of the person (subject); lack of objectivity. The range of attitudes towards this term indicates its essentially contentious nature. It is often used pejoratively within positivist sociology to derogate biased observation or methodology. At the other extreme it is celebrated by HERMENEUTICS as the only possible way to locate any attempts to theorize about the social. Any answer to the question as to whether subjectivity is inescapable or undesirable relies on ontological and epistemological assumptions about the nature of human beings’ relationship to the concrete world. In practice the two terms are used as if they occupied ends of a continuum, greater or lesser degrees of subjectivity being claimed by various authors. Various attempts have been made to illustrate the way that subjectivities are objectively constructed and vice versa (see PARSONS, ALTHUSSER, GIDDENS, for example), but the dichotomy stubbornly refuses to disappear.