Richard INGWE

Variation in practice procedures of professionals in different disciplines (e.g. social sciences and humanities) amazes those interested in objectivity. This is especially true concerning questions regarding human interest (conflict of interest, difference in the determination of interest, among other variants of interest) concerning the public realm and policy making/implementation. This has always been a matter of vigorous debate in the social sciences and other disciplines. Rather than engage in broad examination of their forms, we focus on clarifying the way various interests are perceived and treated with reference to objectivity in social science research and public policy. The objective of this paper is to assess the extent to which pluralism theory contributes towards understanding of differences between practices of social sciences and law. The specific objectives are: to explain the rather diametric opposition in the way social researchers are expected to exhibit objectivity in their approach to public policy/welfare and the way lawyers persist in applying bias towards persuading Judges to either acquit their clients or apply leniency to give their clients lighter sentences than could have been the case, should the full weight of possible penalty/punishment were to be applied. To provide reference material for stimulating multi-/cross-disciplinary discourse on the issues in the nexus of the title, we draw from multi-/interdisciplinary literature review to clarify the concept of objectivity from human geography, human society and the sovereign from political sciences and philosophies of Thomas Hobbes. The methods of aetiology and desk research were employed for implementing this study. The important empirical value of the study includes the analysis of the sub-field where social statistics (data) has been gathered against the backdrop of the perception of both the nature as well as the “how” the data is gathered to representing “facts”. Finally, we summarise the major ideas of the discourse, recommend future directions in exploring studies of this nature.

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