Advertisement

The Logic and Methodological Rules of Reconstruction

  • Oddbjørn Bukve
Chapter

Abstract

What rules and approaches do we use when trying to understand and explain observations by help of theory, or when changing the theories as a result of new observations and ideas? The positivist tradition emphasises the alternation between on the one hand observations and the formulation of general theories, also called laws, and on the other hand testing of theories through new observations. The logic of such hypothetical-deductive reasoning, however, is mainly directed at testing theories to find out whether they are valid. It has less to say on the development of new ideas and theories. Other research logics are more focused on how to proceed in order to eliminate rivalling ideas and theories as far as possible. They build on a more pluralistic basis: that there usually are several possible explanations for and interpretations of social patterns and events.

In abductive thinking we go backwards from an observed conclusion and form premises and causal mechanisms of a kind that if they were true, the conclusion would be reasonable. Through abductive thinking we can develop different possible explanations of one and the same phenomenon. Thus, such thinking also opens up for different forms of testing of ideas through practical testing or production of data that are relevant for the testing of connections and relations.

The focus of analysis in hermeneutics is either an utterance in light of a given situation or an utterance in light of the actor who makes the utterance and wants to achieve something. In discourse analysis, we study how a given discourse order produces specific discursive practices and thus the actors’ interpretation of the world, or how subjects are constructing their identity in a given discursive context. These logics also focus on the mutual interaction between phenomenon and context. Strategic actors can change a given situation, and discursive practices can produce new frames of understanding and orders of discourse. We can say that hermeneutics and discourse analysis are concerned with the production of contextualised and situational explanations rather than with abstract generalisations that ignore time and space.

References

  1. Alvesson, M., & Sköldberg, K. (2000). Reflexive methodology. New vistas for qualitative research. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Beach, D. (2016). It’s all about mechanisms – What process-tracing case studies should be tracing. New Political Economy, 1–10.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2015.1134466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beach, D., & Pedersen, R. B. (2014). Process-tracing methods: Foundations and guidelines. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  4. Boudon, R. (1991). What Middle-Range Theories Are. [Robert K. Merton: Consensus and Controversy., Jon Clark, Celia Modgil, Sohan Modgil; Puritanism and the Rise of Modern Science: The Merton Thesis., I. Bernard Cohen, K. E. Duffin, Stuart Strickland; “After Merton”: Protestant and Catholic Science in Seventeenth-Century Europe., Rivka Feldhay, Yehuda Elkana; The Focused Interview: A Manual of Procedures., Robert K. Merton, Marjorie Fiske, Patricia L. Kendall; L’Opera di R. K. Merton e la Sociologia Contemporanea., Carlo Mongardini, Simonetta Tabboni]. Contemporary Sociology, 20(4), 519–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Campbell, D. T. (1984). Foreword. In R. K. Yin (Ed.), Case study research. Design and methods. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Cartwright, N. (1983). How the laws of physics lie. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press/Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cartwright, N. (2006). Where is the theory in our “theories” of causality? The Journal of Philosophy, 103(2), 55–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dunn, K. C., & Neumann, I. B. (2016). Undertaking discourse analysis for social research. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gadamer, H.-G. (1997/1960). Sanning och metod: i urval (Orig. Wahrheit und Methode). Göteborg, Sweden: Daidalos.Google Scholar
  10. Gramsci, A. (1973). Politikk og kultur: artikler, opptegnelser og brev fra fengslet (Vol. F255). Oslo, Norway: Gyldendal.Google Scholar
  11. Habermas, J. (1974/1968). Vitenskap som ideologi (Orig. Technik und Wissenschaft als “Ideologie”) (2. oppl. ed.). Oslo, Norway: Gyldendal.Google Scholar
  12. Habermas, J. (1984). The theory of communicative action (Vol. 1). Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hookway, C. (2016). “Pragmatism”. The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Summer 2016 ed., Edward N. Zalta, Ed.). URL = .Google Scholar
  14. Johansson, I., Kalleberg, R., & Liedman, S.-E. (1972). Positivism, marxism, kritisk teori: riktningar inom modern vetenskapsfilosofi (3. uppl. ed.). Stockholm: Pan/Norstedts.Google Scholar
  15. Laclau, E., & Mouffe, C. (2001). Hegemony and socialist strategy: Towards a radical democratic politics. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  16. Lakatos, I. (1978). The methodology of scientific research programmes (Vol. 1). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mayntz, R. (2004). Mechanisms in the analysis of social macro-phenomena. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 34(2), 237–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Merton, R. K. (1968). Social theory and social structure (Enl. ed.). New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  19. Neumann, I. B. (2001). Mening, materialitet, makt: en innføring i diskursanalyse. Bergen, Norway: Fagbokforl.Google Scholar
  20. Peirce, C. S. (1972). Charles Sanders Peirce. Selected texts by I. Gullvåg. Oslo, Norway: Pax.Google Scholar
  21. Ricoeur, P. (1988a (1986)). Hermeneutik och ideologikritik. In Från text till handling: en antologi om hermeneutik (Orig.: Du texte à l’action, Essais d’hermenutiques) (Vol. 1). Stockholm: Brutus Östlings bokförlag Symposion.Google Scholar
  22. Ricoeur, P. (1988b (1986)). Vad är en text? In Från text till handling: en antologi om hermeneutik (Orig.: Du texte à l’action, Essais d’hermenutiques) (Vol. 1). Stockholm: Brutus Östlings bokförlag Symposion.Google Scholar
  23. Schmidt, V. A. (2008). Discursive institutionalism: The explanatory power of ideas and discourse. Annual Review of Political Science, 11, 303–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Weber, M. (1971/1922). Makt og byråkrati: essays om politikk og klasse, samfunnsforskning og verdier (Orig. Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, part III, ch. 1). Oslo: Gyldendal.Google Scholar
  25. Westlund, I. (2009). Hermeneutik. In A. Fejes & R. Thornberg (Eds.), Handbok i kvalitativ analys (pp. 62–80). Stockholm: Liber.Google Scholar
  26. Winther Jørgensen, M., & Phillips, L. (1999). Diskursanalyse som teori og metode. Frederiksberg, Denmark: Roskilde Universitetsforl. Samfundslitteratur.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oddbjørn Bukve
    • 1
  1. 1.Western Norway University of Applied SciencesSogndalNorway

Personalised recommendations