Hermeneutics broadly refers to the theory of interpretation. The object of interpretation is the meaning of some human action, artifact (e.g., a work of art), or text. The principal schools of hermeneutic thought and their leading theorists include philosophical hermeneutics (Hans-Georg Gadamer, Charles Taylor), critical theory (Jürgen Habermas), and deconstructionism (Jacques Derrida), and there is a lively debate among their respective positions. The term is also used as a synonym for interpretive, such as in interpretive social science. Whether directly acknowledged or not, ideas central to the hermeneutics schools of thought are influential in some forms of interpretive, qualitative, and transformative (e.g., critical, feminist) approaches to evaluation.

Thomas A.Schwandt

Further Reading

Bernstein, R. J.(2002)The constellation of hermeneutics, critical theory, and deconstruction. In R. J.Dostal (Ed.), The Cambridge companion ...
  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles