Interpretivism And Post-Constructionist Epistemology

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Not all social scientists agree that positivism, and its methods which borrow so heavily from the hard sciences, is the best way to generate understanding and knowledge. They argue that the role of things such as social construction and individual and group decision-making need a space within social science methodology (Schwandt, 1994). In response to these critiques, post-positivism was born. Post-positivism holds the same values as positivism, with a continued focus on the methods of the hard sciences, but understands that no method of research can be perfect. Post-positivism advocates for experimental design supplemented with qualitative methods (Crotty, 1998). This methodology, although it is still imperfect, is still the best method …show more content…
Researchers who adhere to a constructionist epistemology developed theoretical perspectives that take into account the role of human interaction in and construction of the social world. The first of these perspectives, Interpretivism, interprets the world by way of social and historical understanding (Crotty, 1998). Interpretivist researchers generate knowledge by studying the world through the eyes of people within a socially constructed reality. Building from the influences of Weber (1904) and Dilthey (1883), interpretive research seeks understanding at the level of the individual involved in producing meaning of phenomena. From this field are born three branches; phenomenology, hermeneutics, and symbolic interactionism. Phenomenology attempts to drop all pretense and understand phenomena through the direct experience of an individual, a method advanced by Husserl (1931). Hermeneutics focuses on reading and re-reading texts to foster new understandings of social structures, utilized by Gadamer in his work Being and Time (1962). Finally, symbolic interactionism, based on the teaching of George Mead (1934) believes that by inserting themselves into the process, researchers will achieve true understanding of a process or …show more content…
Postmodernism rejects the rationality inherent in modern culture and constantly plays with the social construct that this rationality has created. Postmodernism seeks to deconstruct all meaning to reconstructed with a new, possibly better, understanding. Postmodern researchers disregard the interaction between object and consciousness and believe that meaning is applied to object based on a previous foundations of meanings and understandings. They seek to disrupt the foundation of meanings and create a new framework through which meaning can be applied. Postmodernism operates on the assumption that the modern world has created issues that it is ill-equipped to handle. Most postmodern scholarship is relatively recent, but scholars such as Derrida (1967) and Lyotard (1979) wrote seminal works that defined the

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