Friday, February 4, 2011
What would the Atheist community want to know about itself?
Much of the social science literature on Atheism/Irreligion/Non-religion is written with very little reference to empirical data1, particularly data coming from Atheists or the non-religious themselves. The research I am currently doing will include the voices of Atheists in a number of forms such as documents, twitter feeds, movies (youtube or standard), blogs and interviews with participants (more on this in a later post).
In the social sciences many practitioners use qualitative methods to extract the voices of actors in particular social settings, in order to add them to our understanding of that social group or social structure (well known e.g. Denzin and Lincoln 1998). This data adds another dimension to the research via accessing the participant view of the system. It helps to ensure that the thoughts of those inside the social group are not (even accidently) misrepresented or skewed by an outsider view.
In contemplating all this, another level of participant voice and thus a question occurred to me...
"What does the Atheist community want to know about itself?"
I'd appreciate any answers or comments on this question...
I hope you are all as curious as I am :-)
1 There are some exceptions. see for example Demerath 1969; Mauss 1969; Caporale & Gumelli 1971; Campbell 1972; Caplovitz & Sherrow 1977; Dudley 1978; Hale 1980; Hunsberger 1980; Hunsberger 1983; Bromley 1988; Hadaway & Roof 1988; Feigalman, Gorman & Varacalli 1992; Altemeyer & Hunsberger 1997; Hout & Fischer 2002; some chapters Martin 2007; Zuckermann 2007, 2010 (vol 1 & 2); Bullivant 2008, 2010; Nall 2010.
Denzin, N. And Lincoln, Y. (1998). Strategies of Qualitative Enquiry. U.S. Sage Publications.