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P167


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World-making and pragmatism: research practices in dialogue 
Convenors:
Tamara Pascale Schwertel (University clinic Koeln)
Sarah B. Evans-Jordan (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU))
Carrie Friese (London School of Economics and Political Science)
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Discussants:
Olaf Tietje (Institute of Sociology)
Renate Baumgartner (VU Amsterdam)
Ursula Offenberger (University of Tübingen, Germany)
Format:
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel focusses on pragmatist methodology-inspired empirical research (i.e. with situational analysis by Clarke, Friese & Washburn 2018). We aim to engage in STS discussions about theorizing and empirical analysis while exploring how the understanding of qualitative inquiry transforms.

Long Abstract:

Many of late-modern societies challenges are complex problems that their origins are multi-sited, resulting from historical dynamics and amplifying social inequalities. If STS-scholars are to grasp those complexities rather than to reduce them, they need adequate methodologies for investigating transformations and the (possible) role of research for co-creating desired futures. Reflexivity is required regarding the politics of doing research and researchers’ positionality.

Pragmatist methodology, originating in early 20th century US-philosophy and currently experiencing a revival in European scholarship, is one strand of theorizing and empirical practice that offers heuristics to include multiperspectivity, processuality and heterogeneity into empirical analyses of social practices. Widely used empirical research styles draw significantly on pragmatist epistemology while proposing concrete strategies for rigorous empirical research. Designed to acknowledge complex relationships between scientific research practices and the respective fields of inquiry, those research styles consider reflexivity and positionality of researchers. Recent advancements in grounded theorizing proposed by situational analysis scholars (Clarke et al. 2018) suggest altered understandings of what constitutes 'good' empirical qualitative analyses, reconfiguring the role of theory for the practice of empirical methods as “theory/methods packages” (Clarke/Star 2008). Those newer developments in qualitative research also integrate different paradigms of social science theorizing, thus enhancing multiperspectivity of empirical research practices.

The panel invites to reflect on social scientific methods as ways of world-making, gathering STS researchers who are engaged in empirical research inspired by pragmatism. We aim to engage in STS discussions about theorizing and empirical analysis while exploring how the understanding of qualitative inquiry transforms. We invite contributors to reflect theoretically and methodologically on the practices of conducting pragmatism-inspired empirical research, its outcomes, the positioning of the researcher, and modes of relating to actors in the field. We aim to foster an understanding of commonalities and differences between different pragmatist research practices in STS.

Accepted papers: