As I start to get into the nitty gritty of the actual original research that will underpin my thesis, a chance encounter with a new edition of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, reprinted this year by Penguin Modern Classics, brought me to the following paragraph.
The physicist’s relativity, which in recent years has changed our whole approach to scientific knowledge, is harder, and therefore easier to understand, tham the social scientist’s relativity. It is not a slogan, but a fundamental statement about truth to say that no social scientist can completely free himself from the prison of his own culture; he can only interpret what he obsevres in the scientific framework of his own time. This is true even of the great innovators. They cannot help but translate their revolutionary observations into language and rubrics that have been determined by the progress of science up until their time. Even those discoveries that create new rubrics are relative to the vantage point of their creator.
A fine caution to any novice social researcher.