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The social in social science
The social in social science

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4.3 Conclusion

If social researchers are to be effective in understanding people, they need to be detached from common sense (the perspective of the person on the street). However, they should not be so detached that they fall into the trap of imposing their own categories upon the object without regard for the experience of those involved (the perspective of the expert).

The standpoint of the ‘stranger’ provides a way of mediating between the detached position of the scientist and the personal experiences of everyday life. This serves as a way of grounding social science in human processes and relationships rather than treating scientific knowledge as though it is divorced from subjective experiences.