The myth of objectivity

Here is something that gives me a sense that my research will succeed. I found this phrase in my current reading and will check the references and explore it more fully.

“The myth of objectivity among historians had a long life as well as a powerful pull….”  I’m not sure that this myth has been dispelled, neither in history, science, the arts etc. etc.

I heard a male scientist on the radio yesterday boasting about a wonderful new discovery…. ” getting patients to take a deep breath when undergoing radiation in order to prevent damage to the heart.”   They have only just figured this out after how many patients have presumably suffered heart damage????  He even had an acronym for this momentous discovery. DBHR (or something like that). An acronym for taking a breath. I’m not criticising the finding, it’s just the humour I found in the gravity of the announcement.   Now this does not relate directly to objectivity but it made me think about the way research today is limited by the rules, by rigidity and ‘objectivity’ (and overwhelmingly by financial imperatives) leaving little room for creativity, poetry, serendipity and the history of the ‘other.’ (See previous post)

In relation to historical research Carolyn Steedman  (Dust) waxes quite poetical when she talks about research as “a place to dream… a place where the past cannot be retrieved but only repositioned.”

I’m not sure I like this blog being public…. feel a bit exposed to sounding like a twit. I guess I’ll get used to it 🙂




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