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Modernization theory and marxists understandings and interpretive theories

The term "development" has been one of the primary themes in modern day educational discourses. In order to materialize this discourse doing his thing, various theories and philosophies have emerged. Modernization theory, Marxists philosophy and various forms of interpretive theories are some of the types of those emergences. Each theory and philosophy mentioned previously has its own way of defining development however the ultimate target of most these theories is the same, and that is to guide society in to the path of development. It is into this context that I would review modernization theory, Marxists understandings and interpretive theories and at the same time would explore their premises and inquiry processes. Based on those understandings I would develop an educational plan, which would help address the need of impoverished children of different caste, ethnicity and religious orientations.

Let me get started with modernization theory. This theory perceives development in a linear form. In this linearity, developed societies sit at the top of the line as the least developed sit at the bottom. The whole notion of modernization theory thus is to find ways on how the least developed society can frog leap itself from underneath position to the top position. Emerged in Europe in the 17th century, this theory often sees traditions as obstacles to financial growth. In doing this, this theory attempts to identify the social variables, which donate to social progress and development of societies, and seeks to make clear the procedure of social evolution. In other words, modernization is a process of socio-cultural transformation that brings changes in sectors like politics, culture, economics, society, and so on.

As stated earlier, modernization is a transformation process. Supporting this statement, Zhang & Thomas (1994) state that in this process workplace shifts from your home to the factory (industrialization), people move from farms into cities where jobs are available (urbanization) and large scale formal organizations emerge (bureaucratization). Apart, this technique of change also involves changes in norms, values, institutions and structures. However, among these transformation processes there are certain premises by which this theory stands its arguments. These premises meanwhile are mostly related to political, cultural, economics and social dimensions of modernization.

Democratic restructuring of the society is the major premise of the political dimension of modernization. Actually, it believes in the power of folks and voices the concerns of individuals. Saying so, it advocates the democratic notion of politics whereby everyone gets the freedom to voice their concerns nothing like the political structure of non-democratic states where there is less freedom of such kind. This view of modernization argues that human agents are in charge of shaping and controlling the development and the altered opportunities in the society. However, this dimension of modernization resides on three sub premises. First, it assumes that vertical accountability in the society is vital. The fulfillment of this premise, according to modernization theory would allow citizens to choose their political leaders through elections and at the same time participate in various political activities. In the words of Sen (2007) this premise brings political freedom in the society, which in turn brings other forms of freedoms as well. Second, political restructuring needs horizontal accountability in the society. This premise believes that democracy would allow the decentralization and devolution of capacity to the lower level. The fulfillment of this premise, according to modernization theory would prioritize local knowledge and understanding in every areas of the society. Third, political restructuring rests on societal accountability as well. In saying so, this premise states that political restructuring permits civic associations, other I/NGOs and an independent mass media to watchdog and monitor the actions of the state of hawaii. All these premises have one thing in common and this is the fact that it puts people on top of the structure or system. Quite simply, the major inquiry process of this form of modernization rests on the actual fact that folks believed democratic process since it guarantees inclusiveness of most forms atlanta divorce attorneys aspects of the society. Sen (Ibid) boosted this inquiry process by claiming that political freedom brings human and political rights, social opportunities, transparency guarantees and protective security. The rights-based approach to development, at the same time focused on participation and accountability as two major elements that might be needed for democratic reforms in the society. All these premises and inquiry processes declare that democracy is the crowning achievement of a long procedure for modernization (Source).

In Nepalese politics thought, these premises and inquiry processes experienced both negative and positive impacts. The restoration of multi-party democracy in 1990 BS can be an example of the successful universal democratization process in Nepal. The inclusion of varied kinds of acts and rights is also a primary fruits of the modernization process. Mass consciousness is continuing to grow about universal concepts like good governance, popular participation, civil society and so forth. The exposure of the Nepalese visitors to the outside world has also brought important changes in peoples' life-style including political life. However, modernization in addition has brought negative impacts in Nepalese political system. The resentful socio-cultural factors like caste and class and ethnic minorities have grown to be stronger. Their state has diverted its attention and service towards protection of the interests of the donor-financed projects. The international donor organizations like World Bank and the International Monetary Fund has interfered in the economic, political, social and military life of the country. Modernization in addition has caused a progressive erosion of the ideology of major political parties of Nepal, which includes brought them to more or less common front. With the procedure of democratic restructuring, your choice making power of the government has steadily shifted to international institutions like Multi National Companies and international donor agencies. All these impacts claim that a) modernization works effectively in a politically stable nation b) modernization supports developed nations rather than the least-developed nations c) the word modernization has become equivalent with westernization and d) modernization has made the political system of minimal developed countries a donor driven.

Like political restructuring, economical restructuring is also one of the major premises of modernization theory. In saying so, modernization theory rests on three sub premises of monetary restructuration and they're policies of monetary liberalization, globalization and privatization. Resources can be purchased in all places and therefore there shouldn't be any barriers to the transaction of resources in and beyond your country is the major reason why modernization theory premises financial liberalization among the keys to development. In doing so, modernization theory advocated laissez faire economy and inquired that less government restriction on economy is an effective way of encouraging development in the society. The state of hawaii, at the same time inquired that lesser intervention in monetary activities would permit the country to prioritize its activities in sectors like education, health and national security. Apart from liberalization policy, modernization theory also resides on private mode of economic transactions. In other words, modernization theory presumes that private sectors have better managerial and profit-earning skills in in comparison to public enterprises which may have less skill of these types. In saying so, this premise inquired that private sector through the use of technologies and different capitals manage the financial transactions very efficiently. Lastly, the theory that the existing capital, technology, labor, recycleables, information and transportation, distribution and marketing are integrated and/or interdependent on a worldwide scale is the major premise by which economic globalization equips the introduction of countries. Within this scenario, modernization theory inquired that free mobility of labor takes place among the nations. In fact this theory inquired that information, economy, technology and ideas are beyond the control of national government and hence explained that internationally globalized economy is one of the main sources through which those limitations could be fulfilled. Adding the political dimension of modernization in to the economic dimension of this theory, Feng (2003) states that democracy along with policies of liberalization, globalization and privatization are keys to economical and social development because it allows policy certainty, political stability, the establishment and enforcement of rules that protect property rights, the promotion of education, the ability to promote private capital, and the reduced amount of inequality.

The monetary dimension of modernization in addition has provided both positive and negative impacts in Nepal. The abolition of licensing requirements for industrial investment, opening of the infrastructure, education and health sectors to the private sector and liberalization of convertible currency transactions are a few of the few success stories from Nepal (Acharya, 2005). However, the depreciation of Nepalese rupee by two and half times from the American dollar and other convertible currencies between 1984/85 and 1995/96 can be viewed as among the negative impacts of modernization in Nepal (Ibid). The increasing quantity of imports in compared to exports can also be classified under the negative impacts of modernization in Nepal. The increasing variety of absolute and relative poor from 5. 3 million in 1984/85 to 8. 8 million in 1995/96 is another example which illustrates that modernization has not been able to address the poverty issue. Unfortunately, distribution of income is becoming more skewed with fewer numbers of people earning more and vice versa. All these examples claim that modernization has a) enabled free movement of labor and capital in and beyond your country; therefore Nepalese market has been penetrated by capitals and labor from neighboring countries with very little gains for the mass of the population b) created a host where minority benefitted the most c) has disrupted traditional livelihood patterns without creating alternative channels of employment for the masses.

Social and cultural restructuring are two remaining premises of modernization theory. The previously explained dimensions of modernization saw political and trade ties as major premises while social and cultural dimension of modernization valued shared life, shared clothing styles and media as major premises of development. This notion got lots of boost when Parsons (date) stated that maintaining traditions for tradition's sake is bad for society and hence societies should most probably to improve and oppose the reactionary forces that restrict the introduction of the society. This statement from Parsons is another important premise upon which modernization rests upon. In addition, the theory that political and economic restructuring would enable and encourage indigenous people's society, culture and language remained among the major premises of this dimension of modernization theory. Although there have been many claims that modernization destructs cultural and social identity, Tomlinson (2003) presumes that modernization in fact resists the centrifugal force of cultural and social capitalist globalization but at exactly the same time allows pluralistic visions on other cultures. This understanding inquires three facts about cultural and social dimensions of modernization. First, the regulatory and socializing institution of the state of hawaii, in particular, legislation, the training system and the media always ensure that nation doesn't loose its cultural and social identity. Second, modernization inquires the feeling of nationalism in the country, the sensation, which Billig (1995) terms as 'banal nationalism' that consistently flags the sense of national belongings in the country, particularly through media discourse. Third, modernity institutionalizes and regulates cultural practices, where we imagine attachment and belonging to a place or a community. Favoring this statement, Tomlinson (2003) argues that modernization inquires 'identity' in the cases where there have been no identity in previous times and even if there have been 'identities', modernization institutionalizes and regulates those identities.

Much like the political and economical dimensions of modernization, social and cultural dimensions also had both positive and negative impacts in Nepalese society. The increasing use of science and technology, better healthcare system, transportation and communication facilities, expansion of education to all or any and imports of foreign consumer products are a few of the major positive impacts that contain taken place in Nepal after the modernization era. However, the ideology that "west is best" psyche that is shaping up in least developed countries like ours is arguably the most negative impact of modernization. Similarly, the invasion of western culture in least developed countries like ours is also making people passive; hence they are not considering the everyday problems but instead are enthusiastic about alien music, songs, dance, sports and life-style. In this scenario, we are receiving sandwiched in between various cultures. Another notable negative impact is the increasing volume of brain drain and muscle exchange in one country to some other. The data from Ministry of Education shows that within an average around 1, 000 students apply for no objection letter from the ministry, meaning we live loosing those amounts of students on the day to foreign countries. Each one of these examples state that cultural and social dimensions of modernization has a) out flowed labor and capital from the country b) displaced indigenous language, knowledge and production c) created inappropriate consumption and investment patterns d) developed allied local groups and e) widened elite-mass gap.

To summarize, modernization theory believes in modern technology, encourages state and people to break their traditional way to do works and so forth. In doing so they advocated various forms of dimensions, which state must address if it's to be "modern". The table given below summarizes each one of these premises and inquiry processes of modernization.

Table 1: Dimensions, premises and inquiry processes of modernization



Inquiry Processes


Democratic restructuring

Important role of human agents

Vertical accountability

Horizontal accountability

Societal accountability

People and technology have capacity to change

Freedom is essential

Independent mass media is necessary

Democracy guarantees inclusiveness of most forms





Resources can be purchased in all parts of the country and therefore no barriers to the transaction of resources

Lesser intervention in economic activities by the state

Private sectors have better managerial and profit-earning skills

Free mobility of labor

Information, economy, technology and ideas are beyond the control of national government


Shared life, shared clothing styles and mass media

Open to change and oppose the reactionary forces that restrict the development of the society

Pluralistic visions on other cultures

The regulatory and socializing institution of their state ensure that nation doesn't loose its cultural and social identity

Banal nationalism continuously flags the sense of national belongings in the country

Cultural practices fortify the attachment and detachment to a place and community

Unlike modernization theory that advocates for capitalistic mode of governance and economy, Marx and Marxists propose the contrary. In fact, Marxists think that capitalism, in due time falter; as a result socialist mode of governance and economy succeeds capitalism. In this regard, Marxism is the antithesis of capitalism, the antithesis that focuses on building a system where state controls the method of production, distribution and exchange.

Inspired by the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Angels, Marxism is a radical political philosophy that views world from financial and sociologist lenses. In so doing, Marxism acknowledges that society comprises various classes of men and women which capitalistic mode of economy further deepens this class structure by developing a gap between those haves and have-nots. In other words, Marxism believes that capitalism forms two major economic classes in the society; is bourgeoisie that holds major forms of productions and have almost all of the resources of the society while the other is proletariat that sells labor to bourgeoisie and virtually suffer from hand to mouth problem on a regular basis. To make matter worse, the aforementioned mentioned dimensions of modernization theory, which Marxism believes are an important element of capitalism, further, worsen the imbalances between the economic classes. For instance, the political dimension of globalization advocates for lesser intervention of government in monetary activities but Marxists believe such action would encourage the growth of bourgeoisie while proletariats would always suffer. Sociologically, Marxism believes that society has a primary relationship with the productive capacity of labor. Quite simply, the higher the productive capacity of labor, the higher the development of society becomes and vice versa. Capitalism however underestimates this relationship; Marxists believe and declare that capitalism is the key cause of the sufferings of working class laborers. In this regard, Marx and Marxists propose three main primary aspects in its philosophy a) struggle exists between social classes b) capitalism always exploits and c) proletarian revolution succeeds capitalism. Thus, Marxism is a humanity-centered philosophy. Additionally it is an activist view of looking society. It recognizes the constraints upon human action and also acknowledges that those constraints are the creations of other sets of humans. In the end, Marx and Marxists think that socialism replaces capitalism similar to the way capitalism replaced feudalism in the past.

Underneath Marxism, there are four major premises that condition this philosophy. First, the idea that classes exists in the society; as a result social classes struggle against one another is the main premise of Marxism. Had different classes of folks lived together in equal respects, the conflicting scenario wouldn't have happened and Marx philosophy wouldn't have were only available in the first place. According to this premise, it's the control over factors of production that is partly accountable for creating struggle between classes. In saying so, Marxists believe that foundation of society is determined by the productive capacity of society. During time when the productive capacity of society escalates the social relations of production and class relations also evolve and therefore conflict and struggle start. This evolvement of class struggles according to Marxists; go through definite stages starting from feudalism to capitalism and ultimately rests into socialism. Unlike capitalism that creates class struggles through self-centric activities, socialism according to Marxists, harmonizes the relationships between various classes as it allows collective social earning and redistributing of income to all. In this regard, socialistic movement can be an essential aspect for Marx and Marxism, which according to them is really the only solution for neutralizing the struggle between classes.

Labor is the most important factor of production, which capitalism always undermines is the next premise of Marx and Marxism. Marx, in his philosophy discusses about necessary labor and surplus labor and argues that capitalism pays labor only the quantity of wages that is sufficient enough for them to maintain their livelihood. This according to Marx and Marxism is the wages for necessary labor but argues that labors produce a lot more than they get paid, which Marx and Marxists call as extra earnings through surplus labor that capitalism do not share with the labors. Despite these exploitations, Marx and Marxists premise that laborers continue competing with each other thus allowing capitalists to further exploit them and consequently laborers always lay in the bottom of any pyramidal authority structure. It really is through this premise, the complete philosophy of Marx and Marxism believe proletariat revolution is necessary and is also capable enough to let laborers fight, defend and improve the position of these status at work. Only once the laborers or proletariat end up being the ruling class, the centralization of all instruments of production can be done, which then allows for acceleration of production, Marx and Marxists argue in support of this premise.

The conception that private ownership of property increases inequality is the 3rd premise of Marx and Marxism. Had there been something where society owns all the method of production, the income inequality wouldn't normally have happened and also the need for proletariat revolution wouldn't normally have felt, Marx and Marxists believe. Marx Weber, one of the Marxists further built this premise stating that human beings earn cultural and religious capitals predicated on what sort of society and culture they get exposed into. With this scenario, if human beings get accustomed to capitalistic mode of owning property, Marx and Marxists believe that proletariats would always be in the state of misery. Really the only solution however, according to Marx and Marxists is the building up of socialist design of owning property where society is the caretaker of all those property. Success in doing so means the minimization of frustration and antagonism on the part of people, Marx and Marxists believe. Abolition of the right of inheritance, centralization of communication and transportation, universal and equal obligation to work, abolition of factory be employed by children, and expropriation of landed property are a few of the ways by which Marx and Marxists argue that private ownership of property can be discouraged.

Finally, the fourth major premise of Marx and Marxism is related to the relationship between base and superstructures, the two financial concepts that Marx and Marxism believe aren't strictly causal but are reciprocal. Base, according to the premise are factors like employer-employee working conditions, the technical division of labor and property relations that comprehend the relations of production and it is based on those bases people enter to produce the necessities and amenities of life. Superstructure meanwhile is the set of socio-psychological feedback loops that maintain a coherent and meaningful structure in a given society. Culture, religion, institutions, power structures, roles and rituals of the society are a few of the examples of superstructures. Marx and Marxists thus believe base and superstructures exist in the society and human beings, through these two factors build definite forms of their own consciousness. In this regard, this premise states that social existence determines the consciousness of human beings not the other way around. Due time however, Marx and Marxists believe that conflict will probably occur between base and superstructures, which then brings a time of social revolution. Just like other premises, which assume that social revolution eventually brings socialism this premise also does the same.

Already explained above, Marx and Marxism is a radical political philosophy. In this regard, it uses process of inquiry to reach at hypotheses and theories about a domain of empirical phenomena. By doing this, this process also provides justification for the proposed hypotheses and theories as well. Also known as as "methodology" in purely research terms, it allows us to recognize the systems, structures, and causal processes that are embedded in the social world, the earth that provides rise to relations of power, domination, exploitation and resistance. Below given are a few of the ways by which Marx and Marxists have analyzed their inquiry processes.

First, Marxism uses material dialectics as an inquiry process in considering the society. Materially, it targets the forces and relations of production, and at the same time postulates that technology and power are fundamental with regards to other social formations such as literature, culture and law. This process of inquiry is sensitive to the workings of ideology and false consciousness inside our understandings of the social institutions within which we live, particularly the understanding of capitalism. In addition, it pays special interest, and will be offering special concern, to the perspectives of the under classes at any given time in history. Likewise, Marx and Marxists by discussing ideas and opinions logically inquire that we now have contradictions in historical processes and therefore change is essential. Also known as as dialectics, this inquiry process highlights the high-level hypothesis that capitalism is solely responsible for creating gaps between various classes of individuals and hence as written earlier, change is essential and inevitable.

The rational choice approach is another inquiry process that Marx and Marxists often used in their philosophy. This approach postulates the fact that an individual is rational enough to believe and act in regards to what is most beneficial and what's worst on their behalf. Through this process, Marx and Marxists explained the various tools of political economy, and demonstrated the laws of capitalism. Marx's argument for the falling rate of profit, concerning the contradiction between the individual capitalist's interests and the interests of the class of capitalists all together is an example of rational choice approach.

Realist empiricism, according to Little (n. d) is the main epistemological inquiry process of Marx and Marxists. Through this inquiry process, Marx and Marxists arrive to the final outcome that scientific knowledge provides statements about unobservable structures that are approximately true, and that the foundation of analysis of such hypotheses is through appropriate use of empirical methods such as observation, experimentation, and historical inquiry. In this regard, their inquiry process of knowing the truth is premised on the idea that well-founded beliefs about the social world can be arrived on the foundation of empirical methods and theoretical reasoning. The whole notion of class struggles and proletariat revolution are examples of such inquiry process where Marx and Marxists derive to the conclusion predicated on what they observe, what they experiment and what they historically inquire.

In regards to metaphysical inquiry process of society and historical processes, Marx and Marxism have presupposes numerous assumptions. First, they inquire that social world is a causal order; in research terms social world bears a cause and effect relationship. The premise that class exists and as a result conflict arises is based on cause and effect inquiry process. Second, social structures have properties and causal characteristics. Third, individual constitute social structures through their actions and choices. Fourth, modes of production consist of sets of forces and relations of production. The thought of alienation, super structures and capitalistic design of social system are types of this inquiry process.

Ontologically, Marx and Marxism inquire that some individuals and groups control labor time of others and derive benefit from their labor without compensation. In saying so, this inquiry process argues that folks have consciousness and freedom, but they find themselves always within the context of people and ideas that, in turn structure their understandings of the relations that govern them. The labor theory of value, and the theory of surplus value provide an analytical framework within which to theorize about exploitation. Marx's idea of alienation, fetishism and mystification are also foundation in his social ontology.

The above given inquiry process evidently implies that Marx always tried to spell it out and explain the phenomena of capitalism predicated on a family group of hypotheses, feelings, and ontological commitments. In this particular sense, maybe it's said that Marx and Marxism do offer some social science inquiry process but do not offer distinctively. Whatever process they may have inquired, it provides a substantive contribution to social science, by means of a series of descriptive and theoretical insights, particularly about the institutional anatomy and dynamics of capitalism and social behavior. The table listed below summarizes the above-mentioned inquiry process.

Table 2: Inquiry processes of Marx and Marxism

Inquiry Types

Inquiry Process

Dialectical materials

Focuses on the forces and relations of production

Postulates that technology and power are fundamental with regards to literature, culture and law

Pays special interest, and offers special concern, to the perspectives of the under classes

Contradictions in historical processes

Rational choice

Individual is rational enough to believe and act

Through this process, Marx and Marxists explained the tools of political economy, and demonstrated the laws of capitalism

Realist empiricism


Scientific knowledge provides statements about unobservable structures that are approximately true

Well-founded beliefs about the social world can be arrived based on empirical methods and theoretical reasoning


Social world is a causal order

Social structures have properties and causal characteristics

Individual constitute social structures through their actions and choices

Modes of production consist of sets of forces and relations of production


Individuals and groups control labor time of others and derive reap the benefits of their labor without compensation

Individuals have consciousness and freedom, however they find themselves always within the context of people and ideas

Structural theories mentioned above give attention to the situation where people act. The proletariat revolution consequently of bourgeoisie exploitation is an exemplory case of structural theory where Marxists notion of exploitation is the problem and revolution is the act. The interpretive theories see human behavior as the outcome of the subjective interpretation of the surroundings. Quite simply, interpretive theories gains knowledge from somebody else's viewpoint and appreciates the cultural and social factors that could have influenced their outlook. Interpretive theories are essential in this contemporary world, Bevir and Rhodes (n. d) argue because until and unless one doesn't understand human affairs properly, one cannot grasp the relevant meaning of anything. In this regard, it could be said that interpretive theorists acknowledge that to be able to understand actions, practices and institutions, one need to understand the meanings, beliefs and preferences of people, society and other institutions. In other words, exploration of ideas and knowledge through peoples' lenses is the key impulse of interpretive theorists. Because of this, various forms of interpretive inquiries have emerged in the world notably the standpoint interpretive inquiries, constructivists, post constructivists, deconstructivists inquiries, phenomenological inquiries and so on whereby I will be discussing about the premises of interpretive theories as a whole and at the same time will discuss about inquiry procedure for certain interpretive theories.

Like other theories, interpretive theories also reside on certain premises. First, it premises that folks act on their beliefs and preferences and hence without understanding them generalization is not possible. When politicians raise interest levels, for example they actually so because they think that by doing so they'll prevent inflation, or they believe doing so are certain to get them a reputation for financial savior or they certainly it for a few other reasons. The difference between interpretive and non-interpretive theorists/researchers lie on the fact that interpretive researchers while generalizing the theory also explores factors such as beliefs, and preferences of politicians whereas non-interpretive researchers build models on basic assumptions about the rationality of human actors plus they suggest for example, that rational people raise rates of interest when inflation increases. In this regard interpretive theories through its premise state that truth is not absolute and multiple realities exist in the universe.

The second premise of interpretive theory is that people cannot reduce beliefs and preferences to mere intervening variables, which the structural theorists often do. When we say, for example a top official managing the Department of Education has an affinity for preserving the staffing and spending levels of his/her department, we necessarily bring that this top civil servant is an alternative position. In saying so, we assume that s/he is not a manager but instead a political and policy adviser therefore has different interests for example, protecting the minister from political flak and firefighting policy disasters. In doing so, this premise argues our theories lead us to see contrary to someone's own view of these position and its own associated interests. It really is for this reason reason that interpretive theory believes that person's beliefs and preferences are not mere intervening variables but rather are either dependent or independent variables.

The third premise of interpretive theory state that we can not separate ourselves from what we realize. In saying so, this premise argues that the researcher and the object of research are linked such that who are we and how exactly we understand the world is a central part of how exactly we understand others, the world and ourselves. Thus, findings emerge through dialogue in which conflicting interpretations get negotiated amongst various actors of any community. In this regard, interpretations are time, context and location bound. Interpretations vary between different context or situation and time and are available to re-interpretation and negotiation through conversation.

The fourth premise of interpretive theory argues that society exists symbolically through different cultural signs and practices and therefore; the structural model of explaining phenomenon in abstract conditions and dynamic relations fails. In exchange, the interpretive researchers think that uses of analogy, types, analytical frameworks and thick descriptions should be needed to be able to make clear social and other phenomenon. In this regard, the purpose of interpretive theory is usually to know and convey the cultural meanings and practices of 1 group to another.

Interpretive researchers use multiple and interconnected methods in inquiring the data because they assume that the truth is socially situated between the observer and the observed. Use of only 1 method, for example objective observation is not sufficient enough to inquire the data, interpretive researchers believe. Hermeneutics, one of the inquiry process of interpretive researchers inquire knowledge through understanding things from somebody else's viewpoint and appreciates the cultural and social forces which could have influenced their outlook. Often used in religion, hermeneutics inquire knowledge through the analysis of the interpretation of religious texts.

Phenomenology is another inquiry process that interpretive researchers often use. Connected with Edmund Husserl, phenomenology is more of the theoretical orientation; it generally does not generate deductions from propositions that may be empirically tested. It operates more on a metasociological level, a level that demonstrates descriptive analyses of the procedures of self, situation, and social constitution. Through its demonstrations, audiences apprehend the means where phenomena, while it began with human consciousness, become experiences as features of the globe. Introspection and Verstehen (a German word denoting empathic knowledge of human behavior) will be the two major inquiry tools of phenomenology. Introspection requires the phenomenologist to utilize his/her own subjective process as a resource for study whereas Verstehen requires an emphatic effort to go in to the mind of the other. Thus, the phenomenology, often found in qualitative research undertakes analyses of small group, social situations and organizations using face-to-face techniques of participant observation.

Another term that is associated with interpretive researchers is ethnography. The holistic approach of understanding society and people is the primary inquiry process of ethnographic researcher. This approach, according to ethnographic researcher deals the fact that humans should be understood in the fullest possible context including the place where they live, the improvements they have got made to that place, the way they are earning money and providing food, housing, energy and water for themselves, and so forth. The inquiry procedure for ethnographic researchers, however, doesn't start from building philosophical standpoint. In fact, its inquiry process provides substantive information on the prevailing knowledge system giving answers to queries such as "does the piece contribute to our knowledge of social life or not". The ethnographic researcher also inquires information through reflective approach in understanding society and knowledge and provides answers to queries such as "how did the author come to create to the text". Finally, impact assessment and reality expression are two remaining inquiry processes of ethnographic researchers. In so doing, it explores answers to questions such as "does this knowledge affect me or not" and "does this knowledge seem true to me or not".

Post structuralism and postmodernism are another two conditions that are associated with interpretive researchers. They both argue that history and culture condition the study of underlying structures; hence neglecting those items in research produces biases and misinterpretations. Often associated with Jacques Derrida, Michael Foucoult, and Julia Kristeva, these theories inquire society or people as another, singular and coherent entity. Further, they argue that an individual comprises tensions between conflicting knowledge claims which gets elaborated through factors like gender, class, race, ethnicity, profession and so on. Both theories, thus to understand the conflicts first inquire the personal idea of his/her 'self' prior to understanding other elements. In other words, self-perception plays a crucial role in both post modernists and post structuralists interpretation of meaning because the researcher's intended meaning, according to them, is secondary to this is that the reader perceives. Thus, they inquire that objects don't constitute a single purpose, a single meaning or a single existence. Instead, every individual creates a new and individual purpose, meaning and existence for confirmed text. Deconstruction, also referred under both post structuralism and post modernism inquires that relationship in a society shouldn't be understood in absolute terms. In fact, deconstructivists believe that there is certain theoretical and conceptual opposites in the society, which often lay arrange in a hierarchy. Also known as as binary pairs, those theoretical and conceptual opposites could be found in the form of Enlightenment/romanticism, men/women, speech/writing, emotional/rational, and signifier/signified. The deconstructivists thus inquire that the only path to properly understand this is is to deconstruct the existing assumptions and knowledge systems, which produce the illusion of singular meaning.

The above given inquiry processes show that interpretive researchers use different theories to generate knowledge. In doing so some use generative inquiry process, some use multiple response inquiry process and some go from objectivity to subjectivity way of creating knowledge. All these inquiry processes are ways to understanding the type and means of knowing knowledge. The table given below summarizes the inquiry processes of above given interpretive theories.

Table 2: Inquiry processes of interpretive theories

Interpretive theories

Inquiry Process



Post structuralism

Post modernism


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