In epistemology, and more specifically, the sociology of knowledge, reflexivity refers to circular relationships between cause and effect, especially as embedded in human belief structures. A reflexive relationship is bidirectional with both the cause and the effect . In researching cultural practices reflexivity plays important role but because. Drawing on the dialogue between these theories and practice theories, examining the relationship between reflexivity and class inequality. Researchers in organization and management theory (OMT) have engaged in a range of In the case of the former, reflexive practices are those embodied practices in which the researcher engages in relation to research.
Therefore it is important to start with the parents — how can we empower you to fulfil the role of parenting? Just an equalizing kind of thing, using your own knowledge in a constructive way to help people understand. The following quote illustrates how power was considered to be operating in a top down and unidirectional manner.
That fact that we go out to a client family. Power was also associated with statutory duties. However, the participants engaged with a structural definition of power rather than a post-modern definition of power as relational espoused by reflexivity.
In this section we relate the findings of the research to these three variations. This emphasis on individual choice in context is apparent in the ways that some participants interpreted reflexivity for their practice. They saw it as a means or skill for making sense of the situations they faced in practice and deciding on action that they could then take.
However, their responses did not suggest that they considered reflexivity to be a skill that can be taught to clients to assist them to make sense of their worlds and to take action to further their own interests Ferguson, Rather, it was considered as a practice tool to aid their practice and develop professional expertise.
This variation in the literature was apparent in the ways that the participants defined reflexivity as a critical approach to their practice, the knowledge generated in practice and the rules and policies that guide practice. As in the conceptual variation in the literature, power was considered as part of the definition of reflexivity, particularly by one participant, in relation to the identity of the knower.
The meanings of reflexivity generated by participants in our research also identified emotions as being an important part of the process of knowledge creation. Participants spoke of their emotional responses when they attempted to apply a critical approach to the generation of knowledge to guide their practice. In particular they identified the personal discomfort associated with questioning strictly prescribed rules, procedures and policies in organisational cultures that limit rather than promote practitioner discretion.
Discussion Overall, there were elements of all three variations contained in the meanings that the participants gave to the concept of reflexivity in relation to their practice. Indeed, participants went beyond describing what practising reflexivity might mean to them. A key point that emerges from this research with practitioners is the descriptions of how they might engage with the concept of reflexivity in a context that prescribes instrumental accountability.
They described the difficulties and discomfort in incorporating a reflexive approach to practice and the easier option of resorting to the relative safety of following rules and procedures. A certain amount of self-confidence is required to engage in critical or reflexive approaches to practice, with confidence associated with practice experience and levels of expertise.
Reflexivity (social theory)
So, while reflexivity may offer a way of developing and increasing expertise, it also requires a certain level of expertise to begin with. It is worth noting that it was the group of participants, the more senior practitioners, team leaders and managers who reflected on this more than the less experienced group. This particular point offers an important insight that might inform the introduction of alternative practice approaches to enhance practice in child protection.
The participants did not engage quite so fully with the concept of power as it relates to knowledge creation in the definition of reflexivity provided to them. We conceptualized their versions of power as constructive, coercive and institutional and acknowledged more as an entity or possession than a process that operates in all interactions, namely, a structural version of power.
The possibility that such alternative approaches might be well received by practitioners has also emerged from this research, as demonstrated by the enthusiasm with which the participants in this research engaged with the concept of reflexivity. Conclusion This article has discussed how the concept of reflexivity was applied by practitioners in the field of child and family welfare to expand their current practice repertoires.
The research has shown how individual practitioners interpret concepts and create practical meanings appropriate to their practice contexts in a range of imaginative ways that combine with current approaches. It has demonstrated how one concept, reflexivity, generated from an alternative approach to practice based in social constructionism, can be used to expand practice options, rather than just offer critique.
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Reflexivity (social theory) - Wikipedia
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Reflexivity: A Concept and its Meanings for Practitioners Working with Children and Families
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British Journal of Social Work, 28, Reconfiguring Child Welfare Practices: Risk, Advanced Liberalism, and the Government of Freedom. The observations are not independent of the participation of the observer. Reflexivity is, therefore, a methodological issue in the social sciences analogous to the observer effect. Within that part of recent sociology of science that has been called the strong programmereflexivity is suggested as a methodological norm or principle, meaning that a full theoretical account of the social construction of, say, scientific, religious or ethical knowledge systems, should itself be explainable by the same principles and methods as used for accounting for these other knowledge systems.
This points to a general feature of naturalised epistemologiesthat such theories of knowledge allow for specific fields of research to elucidate other fields as part of an overall self-reflective process: Any particular field of research occupied with aspects of knowledge processes in general e.
Reflexivity includes both a subjective process of self-consciousness inquiry and the study of social behavior with reference to theories about social relationships. History[ edit ] The principle of reflexivity was perhaps first enunciated by the sociologists William I. Mertonbuilt on the Thomas principle to define the notion of a self-fulfilling prophecy: The prophecy has a constitutive impact on the outcome or result, changing the outcome from what would otherwise have happened. Reflexivity was taken up as an issue in science in general by Karl Popperwho called it the 'Oedipal effect', and more comprehensively by Ernest Nagel Reflexivity presents a problem for science because if a prediction can lead to changes in the system that the prediction is made in relation to, it becomes difficult to assess scientific hypotheses by comparing the predictions they entail with the events that actually occur.
The problem is even more difficult in the social sciences. Reflexivity has been taken up as the issue of "reflexive prediction" in economic science by Grunberg and Modigliani and Herbert A.
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Simonhas been debated as a major issue in relation to the Lucas Critiqueand has been raised as a methodological issue in economic science arising from the issue of reflexivity in the sociology of scientific knowledge SSK literature. Reflexivity has emerged as both an issue and a solution in modern approaches to the problem of structure and agencyfor example in the work of Anthony Giddens in his structuration theory and Pierre Bourdieu in his genetic structuralism.
Giddensfor example, noted that constitutive reflexivity is possible in any social system, and that this presents a distinct methodological problem for the social sciences. Giddens accentuated this theme with his notion of " reflexive modernity " — the argument that, over time, society is becoming increasingly more self-aware, reflective, and hence reflexive.
Bourdieu argued that the social scientist is inherently laden with biasesand only by becoming reflexively aware of those biases can the social scientists free themselves from them and aspire to the practice of an objective science. For Bourdieu, therefore, reflexivity is part of the solution, not the problem. Foucault examines the history of Western thought since the Renaissance and argues that each historical epoch he identifies 3, while proposing a 4th has an epistemeor "a historical a priori ", that structures and organizes knowledge.
Foucault argues that the concept of man emerged in the early 19th century, what he calls the "Age of Man", with the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. He finishes the book by posing the problem of the age of man and our pursuit of knowledge- where "man is both knowing subject and the object of his own study"; thus, Foucault argues that the social sciences, far from being objective, produce truth in their own mutually exclusive discourses.
In economics[ edit ] Economic philosopher George Sorosinfluenced by ideas put forward by his tutor, Karl Popper has been an active promoter of the relevance of reflexivity to economics, first propounding it publicly in his book The Alchemy of Finance.
Reflexivity is inconsistent with general equilibrium theorywhich stipulates that markets move towards equilibrium and that non-equilibrium fluctuations are merely random noise that will soon be corrected. In equilibrium theory, prices in the long run at equilibrium reflect the underlying economic fundamentalswhich are unaffected by prices. Reflexivity asserts that prices do in fact influence the fundamentals and that these newly influenced set of fundamentals then proceed to change expectations, thus influencing prices; the process continues in a self-reinforcing pattern.