This post is about the relevancy of scientific, sociological and artistic methods of inquiry. These normally present parallel worlds; simultaneous flow of science, human sciences and arts potentially create a straining effect for the researcher and, encourage partial withdrawal from one or another. This is an effort to dismantle that effect from within.
Five years ago last week I graduated from my master’s program at the University of Windsor. My research was constituted of an investigation on the effect of attentional focus on learning procedures as it applied to pedal tasks. Similar to many graduate students, I had spent months in a lab by myself and occasionally with research participants. I’m not going to deny, wiring people to accelerometers and having a machine translate their movements into digital waves and numbers was cool, and from time to time felt very authoritative.
I expected that this master’s degree would place me in a 100 times cooler lab in CAMH and/or similar research organizations. Not for that I thought I was a genius, or for that my little study was the first of its kind, but that I knew how to apply my research; I had observed a small section of learning dynamics and, it had led into results that were in controversy with the existing literature. This meant one thing for my study; that there were plausible ways in which the relevant programs could employ implications this study had.
I should note that a pilot study is never meant to create certain results, nor should any scientific study be biased in such way that it results in favorable data. In science, we control as many variables known to us in order to validate if the fashion in which the study is designed leads into any “statistically meaningful outcomes”. In brief, my tests had failed to show any significant difference in “improvement of learning” among differently instructed groups. It was clear that there were variables outside of my control that could have potentially impacted the lab experience; those could include time limits, the little likelihood that participants would come back in a longitudinal study so that I conducted an immediate analysis after each set of tests and so on. If there is one thing I know is as much as un-answered questions lead into studies, non-satisfactory results lead into more questions.
As a researcher, what I bring to the table is constant construction of ideas not to make them digestible but to reflect on complexities they present. My non-conforming thesis appeared not-marketable enough for that it did not support the existing body of knowledge or vice versa. And it should not be a surprise that I took issues with that. Accordingly, I moved on to a PhD program and switched my major to the one love I had set aside for years; human sciences. And NO. Giving up on the idea of becoming "the mad scientist" did not come easy AT ALL!!
Before I made my way to Ottawa, many professors in Social Science programs rejected my application. Yet I suppose I managed to succeed in defying the presumption about “lack or absence of human scale” in sciences. It must have come from the fact that in my conversations I normally imply that there is a type of supreme poetic element in the type of knowledge one accesses in a sealed room while experimenting with quasi shiny rocks from Sutai mountains only to discover their great-grandfathers might be temples in Mars. That, social scientists might have found appealing!
Now, it seems to me that there exist a relatively similar dynamic to sciences, one which is bound to appeal to the market, present in social sciences; it appears as if alternative study forms mainly result in a distance from the mainstream knowledge exchange channels for what is referred to as “lack or absence of scientific objectivity”. This I’d argue opens a space for isolationist social science research and a tendency for biased political studies. And if anything the above-mentioned are the core attributions of injustice; the former normally includes one or two accompanying arguments and latter presents the cases it is investigating within the schools of thought that the subject of study originates from versus the opposite.
The isolationist reduction I am referring to is the reason why we associate certain degrees and certain fields with measures of objectivity; back to me, even though, I am possibly more advanced in arts than any other form of inquiry, I am (still) constantly and strongly recommended not to mention my artistic ability to employers. For that someone whose social research appears sharply illustrating on the contrasting elements of social functions, her master’s degree is not as recognizable as a scientifically valid badge of honor, revealing certain political inclinations through arts is the ultimate shot for remaining outside job market. Well be it!!!
If anything a researcher is by default bound to presume that he or she is studying a “world”, a sphere of phenomenon to which exist accompanying, countering and cutting arguments and more. As vast as approaches can be and as moving consequent achievements can become, yet, un-informed criticizing and non-formal analysis are different, and neither nor is a condition for the other. The relation the three spheres of arts, sciences and social sciences have, presents such a distinguished nexus that it makes it difficult for me to understand how they do not overlap in other’s (read Neoliberal market) mindset.
It is years since Pierre Bourdieu’s visual social mapping pioneered a notion barely navigated by sociologists before him. Far from constructing the imagery of a distant genius, or the next professor sitting in Ivory Tower, Bourdieu is known for taking the streets of alongside university students and every day antagonists of neoliberalism; in a seethe of leftist movements that he himself criticized as a chaotic reaction to conservative dogmatism. In this multilateral preach-like criticism he rallied for becoming who he become; many who admired his scientific vision but even more so adored him for remaining within the social scenery of the time. For an emphasis that politics needs not to be depoliticized in either theory or practice and that, does not make it any less of an objective observation. Every one above the speaking knows Albert Einstein not just for his Theory d Relativity, which seems a difficult for the average non-physicist to explain in day to day language, but even more so for what presents Einstein. A philosopher with political standing and a social history, one who represents resistance and full-on effort for preserving peace, and denouncing [ab]use of powerful advancements as tool for continuation of the warfare age.
From one perspective the difference between Middle Ages and the current post post modern age is that, one might not be able to capture the entire apparatus of sciences and become the next Omar Khayyam; yet if this ever could have lead into a reduction dogma, that day is the day [a] scientist, social scientist or artist should set themselves free of that apparatus; it is not that sciences advance quicker by watering the invasive plant of economization of all that there is, but for that it then would come to serve a toxin that kills any utopia; in one’s head first outside in the system.
 A term in cognitive science referring to the foci where the instructions require the participant to pay attention to
 To clarify I had not rushed through my experiments in fact I repeated my experiments all over again a year later as an alumni, with completely new participants, yet same instruments and method of analysis and not surprisingly got almost the exact same results. Yet, it was not before today where I would publically claim that graduation was sweat but would be sweater if I had learnt I had earned a desire to criticize the subjective way, to the existing body, my results were criticized.
 To makes thing worse perceptions that exist about Human Kinetics are already narrow which should speak to the difficulties many HK graduate face for demonstrating how deeply their work is beyond the playground.
 I use human and social sciences interchangeably here
 There is also something to be said about the development of an anti-science attribute in modern arts where pioneers of breakaway from neo-classical arts, such as Picasso dismissed and demonized, extensively, art for/as research and artist’s obsessive thinking for that is only allows arts to go stray. Though, the fantasies of modern and post-modern cultures about arts and artists are beyond the limits of this text.