Intertwining Interpretive Constructionist Practices
In their article, “The Constructionist Analytics of Interpretive Practice,” Holstein and Gubrium (2011) discuss the development of a constructionist analytics of interpretive practice, a derivative of constructionist inquiry. According to the authors, this concept resembles enough of the elements of constructionist inquiry to constitute its own research program. They look briefly at the contributing constructionist studies that make up the program: social phenomenology, ethnomethology, ordinary language philosophy, and Foucauldian discourse analysis.
Traditionally, constructionism has focused on how social reality is constructed, managed, and sustained. Ethnomethodologists generally see the how questions (or how) analytics in qualitative inquiry, keenly attuned to the naturally occurring talk and social interactions. Conversely, Michel Foucault, looks at what is being accomplished, under what conditions, and out of what resources noting that objects and subjects accent the constructive what questions (or whats) the discourse constitutes as much as the hows of discursive technology. He is concerned with the physical location of the discourse: the prison, hospital, and asylum, for examples. Although Foucault is largely missing the hows, ethnomethodology is largely missing the whats, ethomethodology and conversation analysis (CA), and its similar variant of discourse analysis, discursive constructionism, have recently begun to examine every day descriptions, claims, reports, assertions, and allegations as contributions to social order construction
The authors see this as an intertwining of the two forms of constructionist inquiries. Although what questions traditionally have played a lesser role than how question in a social construct, a related set of concerns now looks at the what of social reality. They identify this interpretive practice as a way to turn us to both the hows and whats of social reality, using postanalytic ethnomethodology narratives as a balance of the hows with the whats, using settings, cultural understand, and their everyday mediations reflexively with talk and social interaction. To understand how these narratives operate in everyday life, we need to know the details and mediating conditions of narrative occasions. These details can only be discerned from direct consideration of the mutually constitutive interplay between what we have traditionally called narrative work (hows) and narrative environments (whats).
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