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Title: Social research for social justice : Alva and Gunnar Myrdal and Viola Klein and the history of social science research
Author: Stina Lyon, E
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis addresses questions about the tension in the history of sociology between academic self-description and the practical actuality of ‘doing sociology’ in traditionally broader social and political contexts. In focusing on the work and careers of three socially committed sociological researchers: Gunnar and Alva Myrdal and Viola Klein, it aims to show that activities in the margin of a discipline in themselves constitute an important field of inquiry illustrating the inherent dilemmas and tensions of the discipline: between science and values, theory and practice, the ideological and the pragmatic, the public and the domestic, the institutionalised and the free-lance, and finally between different kinds of values in relationship to the ‘social’. One of the main arguments of the thesis is that the explicit egalitarian and democratic value orientation of the Myrdals and Klein became both the source of their fame and the curse that left them, and the topics to which they theoretically and empirically addressed themselves, marginalised in the discipline. The ten published papers that form the main part of the thesis were written over a period of ten years each with its own particular research focus, but all within the overall aim of contributing to a broader and more contextual and international history of sociological activities. Several papers address the social context of the work and intellectual careers of the Myrdals and Klein as individual contributors to the discipline. Three papers have a special focus on mutual correspondence and collaboration as a source of information about the learning trajectory of individuals, but also about the development of the discipline and its many dilemmas, contradictions and shifting boundaries. A further two papers raise more general questions about the errors and pitfalls in writing intellectual biography and about the changing social and political context of being a public intellectual.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available