File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2003/bhaskar.0312, message 199


Subject: RE: BHA: Description in social science
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 21:04:17 -0500


Dick,

I think the term "double hermeneutic" is Giddens'. He uses it to distinguish
between the community under study and the social scientists doing the
studying. It nonetheless is true that in daily parlance, meaning is
multi-layered. However, I think this obscures Giddens' point, which is that
there are fundamentally two hermeneutics in social science: that of the
scientific community (class, social structure, surplus value) and that of
the community under study. This compares with most natural sciences, in
which the thing under study (stars, chemicals, atoms) have no hermeneutic
and therefore the sciences have a single hermeneutic. However, some natural
sciences, zoology, may actually have a double hermeneutic too. For example,
I remember hearing that scientists have identified at least 25 different
"words" that elephants use. I don't suppose they know yet if the elephants
can be sarcastic or ironic in their usage, or if perhaps a word has certain
connotations to an Indian elephant but different ones to an African
elephant.

	Marsh Feldman

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-bhaskar-AT-lists.village.Virginia.EDU
> [mailto:owner-bhaskar-AT-lists.village.Virginia.EDU]On Behalf Of Moodey,
> Richard W
> Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2003 7:44 PM
> To: bhaskar-AT-lists.village.Virginia.EDU
> Subject: RE: BHA: Description in social science
>
>
> Steve and Karl,
>
> Clifford Geertz in "The Interpretation of Culture" (1973) develop
> the notion of "thick description," which he argued is the
> essential task of the ethnographer.  It involves taking the
> viewpoint of all the participants in an event, including their
> viewpoints on the viewpoints of the others.  Such description is
> thick, because it is multi-layered.  It is not a "double
> hermeneutic," but a "multiple hermeneutic."
>
> Regards,
>
> Dick
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: karl.maton [mailto:karl.maton-AT-ntlworld.com]
> Sent: Saturday, December 13, 2003 1:34 PM
> To: bhaskar-AT-lists.village.Virginia.EDU
> Subject: Re: BHA: Description in social science
>
>
> Fleetwood, Steve wrote:
>
> >Dear all
> >
> >I am trying to think through the idea that the provision of an adequate
> >explanation requires an adequate description. Whilst there is plenty of
> >literature on explanation in social science, there seems to be little
> >on description. Can anyone help me out here?
> >
> >Regards
> >
> >Steve
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> I'm being a bit behind here ... but I was going through some emails and
> thought you might be interested in a non-philosophical discussion of
> description. Basil Bernstein writes about two languages of description,
> an internal and an external one, when discussing theories and knowledge
> structures. He then relates this to how theories should provide
> principles of description to enable empirical research. There's lots
> more ... he talks about these things specifically in relation to his own
> conceptual framework and empirical research, so it might be an
> interestingly concrete discussion. I'll stop now in case it's not and
> because someone seems to be beating my head in, if this headache is to
> be believed. (Or maybe it's a mirage).
>
> --
> With best wishes,
>
> Karl
>
> Karl Maton
>
> Email: karl.maton-AT-ntlworld.com
> Email: karlmaton-AT-hotmail.com
> URL: http://www.KarlMaton.com
>
> This is your life and its ending one minute at a time.
>
>
>
>
>
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>
>
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