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Open up society

pects relating to the three disciplines, but we have not arrived at a final conclusion. You must discuss this between yourselves! In conclusion, we will finish this chapter by briefly showing how social studies is a mixture of knowledge and theory, and we will do so by using our study of gender equality in Denmark. In social studies, we try to structure information and knowledge about society in several ways. Let us split them into three for now: Current knowledge: This is information about what is happening in society right now. For example, problems with sharing nude photos, a new bill being adopted by Folketinget, or an argument by a prominent feminist. Empirical knowledge: Empirical knowledge includes reports, surveys, interviews, statistics and polls. Empirical means based on experience and is another word to describe factual and processed knowledge about society. This may be studies that we have used in this chapter to illustrate correlations between pay and gender, members of parliament and gender, or domestic work and gender. Empirical data can be obtained in many ways, and two different methods are used: The quantitative method could be statistics such as the graph we used in this chapter to describe correlation between pay and gender. Quantitative surveys are intended to illustrate how many or how much. They show numbers and trends relating to the subject or phenomenon we have chosen to investigate. In this case equality between the genders. Information 24 CHAPTER 1 obtained through the quantitative method (numbers) is called hard data. The qualitative method is used to find out, for example, what it is like to be the only woman on a corporate board of directors, or how it is for a person to experience that her intimate images have been shared online. Qualitative studies are not intended to quantify, but to investigate how people experience phenomena. Qualitative studies are used extensively, for example if we make an interview with a single person or a focus group because we want to hear and understand the experiences and perceptions of the person(s) we are interviewing. Qualitative method can also be used to study a speech or argument and to analyse it by asking questions. Based on this analysis, we interpret its intention. Qualitative studies do not present general aspects of an issue or phenomenon, but instead are used to specifically talk about how people perceive certain situations. For example, what experiences a person has had with discrimination due to his or her gender. Scientific knowledge (concepts and theory) comprises the academic concepts, models and theories contained in this book and presented in the course. We use them in social studies to explain and understand our current and empirical knowledge. For example, feminism is an essential concept if we are to understand developments in the struggle for women’s equality in society, as well as the concepts of gender roles and pay gap between men and women.


Open up society
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