Advertisement

Paradigm of Inquiry: Critical Theory and Constructivism

Chapter

Abstract

Understanding phenomena, continual inquiry and search for truth identify central rationales for human existence. Indeed, the very necessity of continual inquiry and searching for understanding provides indication of our limitations; the world we attempt to comprehend is opaque and our inquiries involve uncertainty and limited clarity. ‘Even the self is in many respects unknown and alien to itself; we are often confused and dismayed by our ignorance of our own motives and actions (Dillon 1997, p. 9). Both world and self ‘transcend us’; as we inquire we seek to ‘overcome the world’s otherness and our own self-estrangement’ (ibid.). Phenomenology concentrates on how we understand the world through experience, identifies social engagement and how this develops our understanding and worldviews. Phenomenology focuses on the way we experience certain events and how meaning is created through these experiences rather than the events themselves. ‘Phenomenology concentrates on the life-world and uncovering … what may be considered … trivial elements of human existence when developing interpretations and understanding human experience’ (Howell 2013, p. 56). ‘Consciousness and world are not separate entities but a holistic construction of lived experience … Through our personal histories, culture, language and environment individuals are provided with an understanding of the world’ (ibid.). In addition, we are also representations of others: ‘my own person is object for another and is therefore that other’s representation, and yet … I should exist even without the other representing me in his mind’ (Kant 1788/1997, p. 6). The other whose object I am is not an absolute subject, but a knowing entity, ‘therefore if he … did not exist’ or any other person exist other than myself ‘this would still by no means be the elimination of the subject in whose representation alone all objects exist’ (ibid.). Hegel (1807/1977) identified the naïve mind’s emergent comprehension of external reality. ‘Mind becomes aware of itself through subjective and objective self-consciousness. Subjective awareness of self is not enough … self needs an objective recognition of its own consciousness to provide an understanding of its own reality’ (Howell 2013, p. 8). Even though notions of reality become nebulous when assessed in terms of the relationship between subject and object one thing we can surely depend on is the notion of ‘facts’. Surely a fact is a fact and either something exists, something has happened or something has been done that is known about or knowable? However, this is incorrect; for example ‘every actual thing is inexhaustible and … every fact is subject to unlimited interpretation and re-interpretation. If one desires to grasp a fact in a determinate way, he will have to construct it. All facts are already theories’ (Jaspers 1995, p. 67).

Keywords

Critical Theory Objective Self-consciousness Unlimited Interpretation Continual Research Limited Clarity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Adorno, T. W., & Horkheimer, M. (1997). Dialectic of enlightenment. London and New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  2. Alcoff, I., & Potter, E. (Eds.). (1993). Feminist epistemologies. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Alvesson, M., & Skoldberg, K. (2009). Refelexive methodology. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Berger, P. L., & Luckman, T. (1966). The social construction of reality. New York: Anchor.Google Scholar
  5. Burr, V. (2010). Social constructionism. Sussex, UK and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Cresswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Dillon, M. C. (1997). Merleau-Ponty’s ontology. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University.Google Scholar
  8. Fromm, E. T. (1997). To have or to be? New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  9. Gergen, K. J. (1994). Realities and relationships: Soundings in social construction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. New York: Alpine.Google Scholar
  11. Guba, E. G. (1990). The alternative paradigm dialogue. In E. Guba (Ed.), The paradigm dialogue. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  12. Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1989). Fourth generation evaluation. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  14. Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1994). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. In N. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 105–117). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Habermas, J. (2004). Theory and practice. Cambridge, UK: Polity and Blackwell.Google Scholar
  16. Hayek, F. A. (1944/1999). The road to Serfdom. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Hegel, G. W. F. (1807/1977). Phenomenology of spirit (A. V. Miller, Trans., Foreword: J. N. Finlay). London: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  18. Heron, J., & Reason, P. (1997). A participatory inquiry paradigm. Qualitative Inquiry, 3, 274–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hertz, R. (Ed.). (1997). Reflexivity and voice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. Honneth, A. (1995). The struggle for recognition. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  21. Horkheimer, M. (1972). Critical theory: Selected essays. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  22. Howell, K. E. (2004). Europeanization, European integration and financial services: Developing theoretical frameworks and synthesising methodological approaches. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Howell, K. E. (2013). An introduction to the philosophy of methodology. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Howell, K. E., & Annasingh, F. (2013). Knowledge generation and sharing in UK universities: A tale of two cultures. International Journal of Information Management, 33(1), 32–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jaspers, K. (1995). Philosophy of existence. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  26. Kant, I. (1781/1992). Critique of pure reason (N. K. Smith, Trans.). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  27. Kant, I. (1788/1997). Critique of practical reason. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (2000). Paradigmatic controversies, contradictions and emerging confluences. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 163–188). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Longino, H. (1993a). Essential tensions—phase two: Feminist, philosophical and social studies of science. In L. M. Antony & C. E. Witt (Eds.), A mind of one’s own: Feminist essays on reason and objectivity (pp. 257–272). Boulder, CO: Westview.Google Scholar
  30. Longino, H. (1993b). Subjects, power and knowledge: Descriptions and prescriptions in Feminist Philosophies of Science. In L. Alcott & E. Potter (Eds.), Feminist epistemologies (pp. 101–120). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Pensky, M. (1999). Truth and interest: On Habermas’s ‘Afterword’ to Nietzsche’s Theory of Knowledge. In B. E. Babich (Ed.), Nietzsche’s Epistemological Writings and the Philosophy of Science. Boston studies in the philosophy of science (pp. 265–273). Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  32. Polkinghorne, D. E. (1989). Changing conversations about human science. In S. Kvale (Ed.), Issues of validity in qualitative research (pp. 13–46). Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
  33. Rorty, R. (1979/2009). Philosophy and the mirror of nature. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Schwandt, T. A. (2000). Three epistemological stances for qualitative inquiry: Interpretivism, hermeneutics and social constructionism. In N. K. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 85–106). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of ManagementPlymouth UniversityPlymouthUK

Personalised recommendations