This Conference-related Group provides a forum for the discussion of methodologies and methods related to interpretive research, as well as issues arising from their location within contemporary political science.
Interpretive methods are informed, explicitly or implicitly, by presuppositions deriving from phenomenology, hermeneutics, and some critical theory, of European (Continental) background, and pragmatism, symbolic interaction, and ethnomethodology, developed in the US. Their concerns often overlap with such other approaches as feminist theories, critical race theory, and critical legal studies. Although diverse in their modes of accessing and analyzing data, research processes in the interpretive tradition are united by an empirical and normative prioritizing of the lived experience of people in research settings (what the anthropologist Clifford Geertz referred to as “experience-near” research, also known as “emic” research), a focus on the meaning(s) of acts, events, interactions, language, and physical artifacts to multiple stakeholders, and the potential for plurality in sense-making of those artifacts, leading at times to conflict.
We call for papers and panel or roundtable proposals that explore interpretive methodological issues, focus on particular interpretive methods for empirical research across the subfields (e.g., political ethnography, ethnomethodology, discourse analysis) or engage professional issues associated with the use of these methods (e.g., issues in writing, publishing, teaching, and so forth).