Thursday, 2 August 2012

Holism without Skepticism… Unthinking Drones?

BOHMAN, J.F. (1991) Holism without Skepticism: Contexualism and the Limits of Interpretation. In: D.R. HILEY, J.F. BOHMAN, and R. SHUSTERMAN (Eds.) The Interpretive Turn. Cornell University Press. pp129-154

“Although the appeal to some unexamined assumptions is a formal requirement of interpretation, it remains an empirical question the degree to which the prejudices of a specific interpreter with the background of a specific culture distort his or her interpretations. As the ethnomethodologists put it, being socialized into a culture or background does not turn us into ‘judgmental dopes’ who passively and unreflectively assimilate roles, norms, and skills. The necessity of the background establishes nothing about the status of any particular belief or skill, any particular interpretation or practice.” (p140)

Although the chosen methodology I have taken is a phenomenological one, there are similarities with an ethnomethodologist approach. What is useful from that perspective is the defence of the individual within a socio-cultural context. Although an individual’s interpretation will be influenced by their own existing knowledge, prior experiences and socio-cultural norms, this does not mean that the individual is an un-thinking drone within their own socialisation within the dominant culture. Culture is man-made and therefore changeable as new ideas and concepts replace out-dated ones. An individual absorbs new knowledge from a variety of authentic (direct) and inauthentic (mediated) sources throughout their life. This impacts on an individual’s interpretation at any time, and explain aspects of deviation of interpretation when compared to the collective in a hermeneutic circle. 

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