Common sense, social representations and stepping down from the ivory tower

Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk


Can social policies designed by experts run into trouble if they don't pay enough heed to local knowledge or tinker with communally held meanings of social institutions? Using his own research in Bihar on the Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) as a case study, Apurv would argue that the threat is real and considerable. A fundamental driver of the threat is what Serge Moscovici has noted to be the subjugation of common sense knowledge by expert knowledge. Social sciences often fail to acknowledge common sense as a legitimate body of knowledge that people use in their everyday to make sense of events in their social world. Decisions in everyday lives and perspectives of people on the street are not shaped by knowledge obtained through Cartesian principles of science but through common sense and social representations which are anchored in values, beliefs, ideas, and practices of groups. In the present day where a cacophony of conflicting voices permeates the public sphere, it is more important than ever that the social sciences devote attention to these seemingly disorganised bodies of everyday knowledge. Apurv's talk will explore how everyday meanings of social objects develop through acts of interpretation and communication, the relationship between science and common sense, and the importance of inter-group perspective taking to outline a research agenda that invites us to step down from the ivory towers of academic research and learn from lay knowledge and common sense.
Period3 Aug 2018
Held atO.P. Jindal Global University, India