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Interpretivism - Sociological Perspectives.

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Septimus El-Dallal (wk 9) - Seminar: Theory and Methods Interpretivism From the time of the Renaissance success in scientific method in understanding the dynamics of nature and bringing it under control gave thinkers in the age of Reason faith in its ability to also understand how humans functioned and lived. There was, it was suspected, a science that has a formula for human happiness and harmony. Increasingly, positivist method (associated with empiricism and science discourse) made its way into Human study. Sociological study took its premises from nature, for nature as a system was a harmonious whole whereas between its constituent parts and its units there was much competition and conflict. ...read more.


Humans are the products of determinants but they were conscious and could change the society and institutions that governed them in turn. Meaning was given to human agency and action. * Action o Interpretivism * Symbolic Interactionism * Labelling Theory * Ethnomethodolgy Interpretivism * Stresses the importance of micro relations o Symbolic Interactionism * Everything has a symbolic meaning which we interpret and respond to in more or less predictable ways... o Labelling Theory * Behaviour and individuals are labelled and responded to accordingly * Patient, schizophrenic, mentally ill, disabled... * Ethnomethodology * Attempts to identify and clarify the meaning of structures and experiences from the participant's point of view... ...read more.


Thus, in our society, for example: 1. The natural sciences are assumed to represent a model of scientific methodology. 2. Positivist sociology aims to apply the methodology of the natural sciences; therefore, it is scientific. 3. Interactionist sociology is non-positivist and rejects positivist forms of methodology. 4. Therefore, Interpretive sociology is "unscientific". However if we assume, for the sake of argument, that there may be different ways of producing "scientific" forms of knowledge, the question of whether or not Interpretivism is "scientific" is largely irrelevant. This basic idea - namely, that there may be different ways of producing reliable and valid knowledge which depend to some degree on the nature of the subject matter being studied - will assume increasing importance in investigating "knowledge" and "methodology". ...read more.

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