Thursday, 23 March 2017

Institute Seminar Series @ MIDS

Transforming the Subjective and the Objective
A Dialogical Workshop
24 March 2017        Friday       2:00 PM

Chair: Prof. Ananta Kumar Giri, MIDS
Speakers: Prof. Ananta Kumar Giri
Dr. Marcus Bussey, University of Sunshine Coast, Australia (through Skype)
Dr. Subir Rana, Independent Scholar, Bangalore
Prof. Manjubala Dash, MTPG & RIHS, Puducherry

Outline: Subjective and objective are inter-related dimensions of human existence and our quest for objectivity in science, society and scholarship is part of this broader human condition.  Objectivity in social sciences has been much discussed and much water has flown in our rivers of understanding, from Max Weber to Michel Foucault. To this complex field of critique and reflections, Amartya Sen has offered his perspective of what he calls positional objectivity: “[..] positionally dependent observations, beliefs, and actions are central to our knowledge and practical reason. The nature of objectivity in epistemology, decision theory and ethics has to take note of the parametric dependence of observation and observation on the position of the observer.” But the objectivity here is that of an observer but agents in a field of life as well as subjects and objects of understanding are not only observers but also participants. 

There is a privileging of the observer here which is similar to other positions such as that of Andre Beteille who also privileges the standpoint of an observer rather than explores pathways of emergent objectivity beginning with the experiential perspective of participants. In our workshop we explore how objectivity calls for transformation of the subjective and the objective as well as cultivation of what can be called transpositional subjectobjectivity. Sen talks about the need for positional objectivity but once the agents are not only observers but also participants the objectivity that emerges is not only objective but also intersubjective and transsubjective.  So we need to explore transpositional subjectobjectivity—one which emerges out of pluralization of the subjects, border-crossing transmutations among positions and transformative cultivation of the objective and the subjective including intersubjective and transubjective.

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