Postmodernism and Social Research

Overview

What is postmodernism? How can it be used to develop social research? How can we do social research in more creative ways?

This book integrates philosophical and theoretical ideas with fieldwork and supports the development of research methods with a sharper interpretative and self-critical edge. It provides an overview of postmodern themes, evaluates the possibilities and dangers of postmodernist thinking and develops ideas on how a selective, skeptical incorporation of ...

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Overview

What is postmodernism? How can it be used to develop social research? How can we do social research in more creative ways?

This book integrates philosophical and theoretical ideas with fieldwork and supports the development of research methods with a sharper interpretative and self-critical edge. It provides an overview of postmodern themes, evaluates the possibilities and dangers of postmodernist thinking and develops ideas on how a selective, skeptical incorporation of postmodernism can make social research more conscious about problems and pitfalls, and more creative in working with empirical material (so called 'data'). A reflexive orientation runs throughout the book, which addresses themes such as how to understand the individual in research, how to deal with the knowledge/power connection, how to relate to language and how to unpack rather than take for granted socially dominant categories in research work. One chapter addresses the research interview in the light of postmodernist concerns about the naivete of assuming that the interviewee is simply an informant, a truth-teller authentically expressing his or her experiences and meaning. Other chapters address issues of voice, interpretation, writing and reflexivity. The book includes a range of empirical illustrations of how postmodernist ideas can inspire social research, and in all it represents an essential text for students and researchers alike.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780335206315
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
  • Publication date: 8/1/2002
  • Series: Understanding Social Research Ser.
  • Pages: 222
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Mats Alvesson is Professor of Business Administration at the University of Lund, Sweden. He has earlier held positions in Montreal, Turku, Linkoping, Stockholm and Gothenburg. He was Arthur Andersen distinguished visiting scholar at Cambridge University, Spring 2000. Research interests include critical theory, gender, power, knowledge-intensive work and organizations, organizational culture and symbolism, qualitative method and philosophy of science. Recent books include Corporate Culture and Organizational Symbolism (1992, with P. O. Berg), Cultural Perspectives on Organizations (1993), Gender, Managers, and Organizations (1994, with Yvonne Billing), Management of Knowledge-Intensive Companies (1995), Making Sense of Management: A Critical Introduction (1996, with Hugh Willmott), Communication, Power and Organization (1996), Understanding Gender and Organization (1997, with Yvonne Billing), Doing Critical Management Research (2000, with Stan Deetz), Reflexive Methodology (2000, with Kaj Skoldberg) and Understanding Organizational Culture (2002).
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Table of Contents

Series editor's foreword
Preface
1 Introduction 1
2 Postmodernism: a sceptical overview 18
3 Key themes in postmodernism 47
4 Taking language seriously 63
5 Unpacking categories 90
6 Postmodernism and interviews 107
7 Interpreting and writing 128
8 Selectively applying pomo thinking: an illustration 144
9 Conclusions 162
Glossary 177
Suggested further reading 180
References 183
Index 194
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