My praxic taste

Reading Fritz Perls, I’m struck by some common principles between Gestalt Therapy and ethnomethodology and Actor-Network Theory (ANT), two of my favorite (closely associated) flavors of sociology. What interests me about the similarities is that it indicates something about my own intellectual taste, or maybe my metaphysical orientation.

These ideas fill my heart with Yes! and inspire my to underline passages and draw big stars out in the margin. I am not even sure these are two distinct principles, but rather a single two-in one principle.

  1. Do not start with a pre-existing interpretive schema, but instead, follow the phenomenon wherever it takes you. Allow the interpretation to follow from the following. The interpretive schema is what is most in question, and it is the destination of the research, not the point of departure.
  2. Do not impose your own interpretation on the subject matter, but allow the subjects involved in it to teach you their way of interpreting what is happening. Assume interpretive competence and respect it. The researcher does not know better.

The highest principle of social learning:

Follow the subject matter and allow its truth to emerge.

And another is like it:

Respect your subjects as interpretive equals.

Leave a Reply