The Intepritive Approach Within Sociology

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Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1398 Words
Date:  2021-03-09

The approach and implementation of critical thoughts within philosophy has been a milestone in the field of sociology and philosophical approach within the various studies. It is important to note that the critical approach to different research methodologies and deductions brought about the understanding of the different concepts and theories, which could be implemented in understanding various phenomena within the society. However, through the works of various philosophical figures such as Max Weber and the others, they diversified their approach of understanding concepts within the society, from a critical approach, to implementing a more interpretive method or school of approach. It is important to note that most sociologists used a statistical approach to determining the various phenomena that applied in society, believing that certain characteristics were available for different factions within the community.

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However, the approach of Max Webber and his colleagues utilized a qualitative approach to understanding social phenomena by wanting to understand the various traits of culture, by understanding the subsets present within the community. It brought about a qualitative approach, through channels such as interviews among others. It is through such an anti-positivist approach that various breakthroughs within sociology emerged. Such concepts were considered as the interpretive approach, which was set out to have a more hands-on approach to the understanding the society. In addition to the above, it also brought about the alternative to sociological positivism and enabled an individual to relate or understand other people's cultures.

Relation between Interpretive Approaches within Cultural Sociology

One major attribute within the understanding of sociology is that it differs significantly, based on the presence of differences in cultures and individuals, thus, its study and understanding might prove to be difficult for the implementation of various theories. Gadamer (1976), developed an approach that enabled the understanding of different cultures and people based on the differentiation between self-correction and self-repetition, through the introduction of the Lebenswelt wavers concept. It is through this notion, Gadamer argues that the ability for one to exhibit self-interpretation within his research approach, led to the understanding within life sociology against the more positivist and neo-Kantianism modes of philosophical arguments, as it was the case. It is important to note that the analytical methodology mainly focuses on understanding the various phenomena through resonating with one's culture and ways of living, as compared to the statistical data provided by the research.

It is through the justification that Husserl's Philosophy of Arithmetic could not produce a symbolic number representing certain meanings. Other scholars, who prove that the presence of a statistical or numeral representation of certain sociological phenomenon cannot be derived, from Husserl's interpretative school of thought. Gilbert Ryle's discussion based on the interpretation of Clifford Geertz novels (1973), concerning the thick description does argue what Husserl thought process vividly. His general question of Le Penseur brings about the understanding and differentiation between thinking and reflecting and the thinking of thoughts. The difference in actions may be interpreted differently depending on how one feels or perceives them. Ryles (1973, p. 6) example, showing the difference between an involuntary wink caused by a twitch and that of an ordinary wink, one can deduce the basic message passed across if one only understands the concept at which they occur in between different people. It brings about the interpretation of various phenomena, which may e represented differently across cultures.

Ryle further argues that culture does not only exist in one's head since one has to differentiate whether it is subjective or objective. Ryle (1973, p. 11) begs to ask if the essence of culture is one that is patterned, or simply a frame of mind, or a mixture of both., may argue that culture is self-contained while others may argue that it is consistent with patterns and social events, which lead to the definition of societies. It may differ depending on individual's argument. However, Ryle (1973) argues that culture is considered as the presence of a school of psychological structures that are logical, and that guide the behavior and means of individuals or groups of individuals. The understanding of culture is one that is challenging and requires the needed observation to have a sense of it. According to Wittgenstein, he deduces that the main reason people will not understand each other, especially when it comes to culture accommodation is the lack of comprehending their ways. One can argue that Wittgenstein's approach is one that concurs with Marx's theory of the definition of individual characteristics within individuals due to the presence of circumstances around their environment.


Considering the above arguments about Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll House, the interpretive school of thought can be applied to understanding the society. The play places an intense depiction on the various building blocks of society, which are represented by the thematic representations within the play. Torvald is one of the main characters found in the play, and his characteristics can be attributed to the circumstances presented by his environment. His masculine presence and emphasis can be considered as chauvinist, since he demands respect and loyalty, because of his wealth. Most people would argue in the context of Marx's theory of the implication of circumstances present within his environment. However, when one observes the culture within the play, is one that demands the role and position of the male counterpart are dominant and superior compared to that of women.

The home is also one of the major regular theme appearances within the novel. In most cultures, the home is represented as a place of solitude, comfort, love and shelter. In most cases, most cultures would depict the representation of a home through the presence of a happy family and is considered as a universal notion CITATION Hen79 \l 1033 (Ibsen, 1879). However, the thought of interpretative school can be implemented within the novel, showing that the presence of imbalance within family and power can result in the breaking down of a home as seen in the conclusion of the story. The feud between the Helmers brings about the facade of a dollhouse within the novel, and the reader placing themselves in the characters shoes and understanding their position can only understand this fact. It brings about the position of value judgments within the novel as brought about by Webber (1978, pp 76). He argues that one can place their own value-judgment based on the various facts presented, and draw their conclusions from them.

Justification of Interpretive Approaches within Cultural Sociology

Such an argument can be used significantly with Nora's ideology of freedom within the novel. Being one of the main characters in the play, she brings about the phenomenon of freedom vividly within the novel. The reader can conclude his or her understanding of freedom from the characters position, based on the value-judgment. Nora's understanding of freedom is one that evolves significantly within the novel. She believes that the role of the woman in society is one that is submissive. However, as the play ends, she has a different mentality on what she wants for herself.

Considering the above example, any individual can assure that the dominance over women regarding duties and their position within society differs from various cultures. It concurs with Webber's argument on the position of value-based-judgment in understanding society and its notions. The presence of particular influences are changed with the aspect of ethical convictions as argued by Webber, (1976, pp 80), is what leads to the understanding that cultures have a various basis and different stands on certain aspects within their societal factions. In conclusion, it is evident that the presence of an interpretive school of thoughts within sociology, results in the understanding of cultures and its difference in particular phenomena, as deduced from figures such as Webber and Ryle. The difference in these cultures can only be understood through accommodating the various notions and ideologies presented within them by placing oneself in their shoes. It is through the presence of such empathy that Marx Webber and other sociologists brought about the understanding of phenomena within societies.


BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 Gadamer, H.-G. (1976). "The Science of the Life-World". Philosophical Hermeneutics, 182-197.

Geertz, C. (1973). Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture,. Interpretation of Cultures, 3-30.

Ibsen, H. (Director). (1879). A Dolls House [Motion Picture].

Max Horkheimer, M. (n.d.). Max Horkheimer, On the Concept of Philosophy. In M. Max Horkheimer, Eclipse of Reason. (pp. 162-187).

Weber, M. (1978). Value Judgments in Social Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University press.

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