• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Interpretivism is an epistemological position in social science. One can contrast it with other positions, such as positivism, realism, and poststructuralism. It is associated with the methodological writings of Max Weber (1864–1920), although an earlier generation of German humanistic scholars also advanced interpretive ideas. In the twentieth century, Weber's ideas were critiqued and developed by Alfred Schutz (1899–1959). Interpretive philosophy of social science was further advanced by Peter Winch (1926–1997) and hermeneutic scholars such as Wilhelm Dilthey (1833–1911) and Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900–2002). These ideas have influenced constructionist movements in social science, such as the sociology of scientific knowledge, and empirical traditions such as symbolic interactionism and ethnomethodology. Interpretivism has also been absorbed into social theory generally. Three examples are Jürgen Habermas, Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002), and ...

    • 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