WiSo-Graduate School UHH: Interpretive Methods

Institution: Graduate School at Faculty of Business, Economcis and Social Sciences – Universität Hamburg

Lecturer: Dr. Philip Liste

Mi., 10 – 12 Uhr (06.04.16-11.05.16) plus block Seminar at the end of the Semester

Place: Universität Hamburg, Von-Melle-Park 5 Room 1083

Registration: You can register for the course until 17.03.16 (13:00) via Geventis

Course description:
The course will focus on interpretive methods (IM) in political science, understood as qualitative methods widely related to a “post-positivist” research paradigm. For example, IM includes various strands of discourse analysis but also ethnographical and/or praxeological approaches. In brief, IM research designs do not serve the establishment of causal mechanisms between variables but rather point to the scrutiny of (normative) contexts. While IM are sometimes criticized for being “only descriptive,” it is the mode of description making the difference. It is one thing to describe how things are; it is another one to describe how things come into being or how certain societal phenomena only make sense against a particular normative background of knowledge. In the latter cases, description is a highly ambitious (and interesting!) endeavor.

In particular, the seminar serves (at least) two ends: First, it will provide an overview on a number of interpretive methods as well as their theoretical and/or conceptual underpinnings. Second, students will establish an interpretive research design (e.g. along the lines of their own research interests) during the second half of the semester. To this end, the seminar will start with number of weekly sessions aiming at the discussion of a number of relevant texts, including “classic” authors like Foucault and Geertz as well as texts, which are more oriented towards the application of methods for empirical research in political science. As regards the latter, the focus will be on literature corresponding to the subfield of International Relations (IR), though this should by no means discourage students from other subfields to attend the seminar and establish research designs with regard to their own dissertation projects and research interests. After ca. five sessions, the weekly schedule will be terminated in order to give students the chance to work on their own research designs, which will be presented in one or two extended sessions (Blockseminar) and the end of the Semester.

Further information