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Interpretation and its Others


Rhodes, RAW and Bevir, M, Interpretation and its Others, Australian Journal of Political Science, 40, (2) pp. 169-187. ISSN 1036-1146 (2005) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1080/10361140500129974


An interpretive approach to political science provides accounts of actions and practices that are interpretations of interpretations. We develop this argument using the idea of 'situated agency'. There are many common criticisms of such an approach. This paper focuses on nine: that an interpretive approach is mere common sense; that it focuses on beliefs or discourses, not actions or practices; that it ignores concepts of social structure; that it seeks to understand actions and practices, not to explain them; that it is concerned exclusively with qualitative techniques of data generation; that it must accept actors' own accounts of their beliefs; that it is insensitive to the ways in which power constitutes beliefs; that it is incapable of producing policy-relevant knowledge; and that it is incapable of producing objective knowledge. We show that the criticisms rest on both misconceptions about an interpretive approach and misplaced beliefs in the false idols of hard data and rigorous methods.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:Political theory and political philosophy
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Government and politics not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Rhodes, RAW (Professor Rod Rhodes)
ID Code:58623
Year Published:2005
Web of Science® Times Cited:47
Deposited By:Government
Deposited On:2009-10-16
Last Modified:2010-07-20

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