Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Paradigm reading, reading, reading

Although it has been a while since posting, I do not have much to report. I have been reading away with the different paradigms and having trouble sorting it all out. The Burrell and Morgan (1979) book was the last to arrive but by far the most helpful, next to Crotty. Until I read Burrell and Morgan last weekend all I was getting was a list of names of different thinkers and lots of different versions of information about ontology and epistemology complicated by different perspectives such as feminism and arts based research, etc. Burrell and Morgan provided an excellent framework to outline the basic 4 paradigms. First they discussed the nature of social science as a field, then assumptions about the nature of society. They then went on to outline the "extreme" ends of each of the two dimensions with views of social sciences as being either subjective or objective and society being either tied to regulation or radical change. Then the four paradigms are discussed as falling somewhere within the four areas of the matrix. FUNCTIONALISM is primarily objective and regulation. INTERPRETIVISM is subjective and regulation. RADICAL HUMANIST is subjective and interested in radical changes while RADICAL STRUCTURALISM is objective and radical.

Of course if we could all just place ourselves and others in the neat boxes things would be easy, or easier at least. But, no, all of these paradigm. Within Functionalism we see objectivism, social system theory, integrative theory and interactionism and social action theory. Interpretive contains hermeneutics, phenomenological sociology, phenomenology. Solipsim straddles both interpretive and radical humanism with French existentialism and Critical theory with anarchistic individualism on the outskirts of the box closest to the radical side of the equation. Finally radical structuralism contains contemporary Mediterranean marxism, conflict theory and russian social theory. I assume there are other forms of thought that could be itemized as well. Very confusing!

Our challenge now is to find two theorists for each of our groups. That is not easy with so much ambiguity still in place. Thankfully I have a great group! Hopefully we can work together to get this all sorted out.


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