WP206 Sociolinguistics and epistemic reflexivity



In this brief paper, I argue that some sociolinguistic research seems to end up showing and saying exactly what one would have expected it to show and say, based on the position ? social, academic or otherwise ? from which the research was produced. Often, this is because scholars embody the values of the group they investigate and, all too often, fail to create a rupture with their inherited view of the problem they investigate. Bourdieu?s principle of epistemic reflexivity offers a way of understanding and, subsequently, handling one?s own position and dispositions, as handed down by one?s field. Thus, it offers the critical researcher the intellectual means to equip oneself with the necessary means to understand one?s na?ve view of the object of study (Bourdieu 1996a:207) and thereby ?avoid being the toy of social forces in your practice? (Bourdieu & Wacquant 1992:183). Therefore, it is also a pivotal driver for yielding better sociolinguistic research.