Criteria Against Ourselves

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In the social sciences, we usually think of criteria as culture-free standards that stand apart from human subjectivity and value. The author argues in this article, however, that conflicts over which criteria to apply usually boil down to differences in values that are contingent on human choices. The demand for criteria reflects the desire to contain freedom, limit possibilities, and resist change. Ultimately, all standards of evaluation rest on a research community's agreement to comply with their own humanly developed conventions. The author ends by considering the personal standards that he applies to works that fall under the new rubric of poetic social science.




Bochner, A. P. (2000). Criteria Against Ourselves. Qualitative Inquiry, 6(2), 266–272.

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