A SOCIAL SCIENTIST AMONG TECHNICIANS
IDS Bulletin (Impact Factor: 0.54). 05/2009; 3(1):24 - 29. DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.1970.mp3001005.x
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ABSTRACT: The role of the sociologist in development projects can be misunderstood by other members of an interdisciplinary team in ways that may have undesirable consequences for development research and can distort the resultant team recommendations. Technological professionals can define the sociologist's role in such a way that he is expected to produce answers to unreal and unanswerable questions and to refrain from attempting answers to important and answerable ones. These latter tend to be categorized as ‘evaluative’ or ‘political’ and excluded from the scope of the research project, with the result that major policy decisions are smuggled into the conclusions of the study in the guise of purely technical recommendations. The real goals of development can thus be largely ignored in the formulation of the report. Greater attention should be paid to the sociology and organization of development research itself if these dangers are to be avoided.