The Illusion of Value-Free Sociology: A Discussion Map

The Discussion Map charts important debates from the pages of EPW.


The age-old debate between the subjective methods and objective methods of doing research in natural as well as social sciences, has been and still is an important one. In this discussion map an attempt has been made to understand the nuances of this debate with regards to sociology. In Sociology, the idea of value-free sociology merits research conducted in an objective and unbiased manner, unaffected by personal values or beliefs of the researcher.The goal of value-free sociology is to produce research that is objective, reliable, and valid, and that can be generalised to a wider population. The concept of value-free sociology has been controversial within the field of sociology, with some arguing that it is impossible for sociologists to completely separate their personal values from their research, while others believe that it is necessary in order to produce unbiased and reliable research. In 1972, Abdur Rahman Momin and Rustom Engineer engaged in a discussion inquiring about the epistemology of value-free sociology. This Discussion Map highlights some crucial statements from three articles published as part of the discussion in the pages of EPW in 1972.


To contribute to a more comprehensive discussion map, please share links to other relevant articles in the comments section or write to us at with the subject line—“Subjectivity and Objectivity”


Curated by akankshya []
Editorial inputs by Divya Jyoti []



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