The April 2011 issue of History of the Human Sciences has just been released online. Included in this issue are eight all new articles as well as three book reviews. Among the topics addressed in these articles are the history of qualitative research in the social sciences, character types and space in early statistical writings, a history of bedwetting and its regulation, a history of therapeutic work, Quakerism and the Tavistock Clinic’s development, alienation theory, the work of Hannah Arendt, and the con man origins of Erving Goffman’s (left) dramaturgical self. Full title, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“Toward a social history of qualitative research,” by Gordana Jovanovic. The abstract reads,
There are plausible academic as well as social indicators that qualitative research has become an indispensable part of the methodological repertoire of the social sciences. Relying upon the tenets of the qualitative approach which require a priority of subject matter over method and a necessary socio-historical contextualization, I reconstruct some aspects of a social history that have shaped the quantitative—qualitative dichotomy and the quantitative imperative; these include modern individualism, monological rationality, manufacture operating on the grounds of common human labour, mechanics as the first science, quantification as a technology of distanced objectivity and a search for certainty realized at the expense of qualitative attributes. The so-called renaissance of the qualitative approach starting in 1960s, understood as a kind of a return of repressed qualities, is also socio-culturally contextualized. Both anthropogenetic and sociogenetic reconstructions as well as a microgenetic analysis of the research process demonstrate that choices of subject matter and of methodology are socially and culturally embedded and necessarily linked to broader interests and beliefs. Continue reading New Issue: History of the Human Sciences