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Transcending objectivism, subjectivism, and the knowledge in-between: the subject in/of ‘strong reflexivity’

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 April 2013


This article addresses the problématique of the subject and the subject-object dichotomy from a post-objectivist, reflexivist perspective informed by a ‘strong’ version of reflexivity. It clarifies the rationale and epistemic-ontological requirements of strong reflexivity comparatively, through a discussion of autoethnography and autobiography, taken as representatives of other variants of reflexive scholarship. By deconstructing the ontological, epistemic, and reflexive statuses of the subject in the auto-ethnographic and auto-biographical variants, the article shows that the move from objectivism to post-objectivism can entail different reconfigurations of the subject-object relation, some of which can lead to subjectivism or an implicit positivist view of the subject. Strong reflexivity provides a coherent and empowering critique of objectivism because it consistently turns the ontological fact of the social situatedness of knowledge into an epistemic principle of social-scientific research, thereby providing reflexivist scholars with a critique of objectivism from within that allows them to reclaim the philosophical, social, and ethical dimensions of objectivity rather than surrender them to the dominant neopositivist tradition.

Copyright © British International Studies Association 2013 

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