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Unformatted text preview: Objective
Hermeneutic:
Methodological
Reflections
on
 Social
Structures
in
Women´s
Lives
 PETRA
STEINER
 Vienna,
Austria
 
 BARBARA
PICHLER
 University
of
Vienna
 
 
 
 The
purpose
of
this
article
is
to
offer
insights
into
a
feminist
research
project1
and
to
present
the
 methodological
 reflections
 within
 this
 project.
 Foremost,
 the
 subject
 and
 aim
 of
 the
 study
 are
 introduced.
Some
experiences
with
the
qualitative
method
of
objective
hermeneutics
(Objektive
 Hermeneutik)
 are
 described;
 why
 this
 method
 was
 selected
 for
 this
 investigation
 and
 how
 the
 methodology
 was
 modified
 within
 the
 research
 process.
 The
 article
 focuses
 predominantly
 on
 the
modified
understanding
of
social
structures.
In
brief,
poststructural
positions
were
followed
 and
therefore
the
original
positions
of
Ulrich
Oevermann,
the
founder
of
 Objektive
Hermeneutik
 were
 broadened.
 Finally
 some
 empirical
 findings
 about
 social
 structures
 in
 women´s
 lives
 are
 reviewed.
 
 
 
 SUBJECT
AND
AIM
OF
THE
STUDY
 
 The
 main
 concern
 of
 the
 study
 is
 general
 and
 non‐vocational
 adult
 education.
 The
 current
 situation
of
 adult
 education
 in
Austria
is
that
 lessons
 and
programs
 offered
by
 adult
 education
 often
 are
 only
 oriented
 on
 consumer
 and
 economic
 needs,
 which
 is
 criticised
by
the
research
group.
There
is
little
empirical
and
theoretical
foundation
and
 due
to
this
lacking,
the
research
group
saw
the
necessity
of
this
qualitative
study.
Mainly
 women
 participate
 in
 courses
 of
 general
 and
 non‐vocational
 adult
 education
 and
 therefore
we
focused
on
women.2
 
 The
 thesis
 is
 that
 women
 are
 affected
 differently
 by
 the
 processes
 of
 reflexive
 modernization
than
men.
Women
are
much
more
challenged
to
adapt
their
biographical
 patterns
 and
 their
 common
 acting
 (Oechsle,
 2000).
 Within
 the
 “double
 socialisation”
 (Becker‐Schmidt,
 1987),
 women
 are
 still
 responsible
 for
 work
 within
 the
 sphere
 of
 reproduction,
 but
 they
 are
 increasingly
 in
 charge
 within
 the
 production‐sphere
 too.
 In
 their
 lives
 they
 have
 to
 connect
 things,
 which
 are
 structurally
 disconnected,
 e.g.
 they
 have
to
cope
with
a
different
set
of
 patterns
of
time,
as
family
members
and
job‐related
 issues.
The
question
of
interest
here
is
which
kind
of
problems
or
crisis
bar
women
from
 acting
 satisfactorily
 in
 their
 lives
 (subdivided
 in
 a
 biographical
 and
 a
 workday
 perspective).
 The
 aim
 of
 the
 study
 is
 to
 examine
 the
 structural
 dimension
 of
 women
 1
From
2002
to
2005
an
 interdisciplinary
group
of
eight
scientists
(AG
feministische
 Bildungsarbeit
Wien
 Salzburg),
 mainly
 pedagogues,
 worked
 together
 on
 this
 feminist
 study,
 which
 was
 published
 in
 2005
 under
the
title
Feministische
Bildungsarbeit.
 Leben
und
Lernen
zwischen
Wunsch
und
Wirklichkeit
(Christof,
 et.al,
2005).
 2
 A
 survey
 of
 Statistik
 Austria
 (2008)
 showed
 that
 within
 4
 weeks
 183,600
 women
 and
 102,800
 men
 in
 Austria
visited
‘private
orientated’
adult
education
courses. Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
50
‐
54 50 acting
in
the
everyday
life
and
in
the
biographical
context.
Furthermore,
the
feminist
and
 pedagogic
 approach
 focuses
 on
 final
 conclusions,
 how
 women
 can
 increase
 the
 possibilities
for
autonomous
choice
and
acting.
 
 THE
DATA
 
 From
45
qualitative
interviews,
we
selected
six
via
theoretical
sampling.
Data
consisted
 of
interviews
with
women
between
19
and
65
years
old,
married,
divorced,
single,
with
 and
 without
 children,
 and
 in
 diverse
 job‐related
 situations.
 The
 interviewees
 took
 courses
 in
 adult
 education
 institutions
 in
 Vienna.
 They
 were
 asked
 about
 the
 most
 important
areas
in
their
lives,
about
expectations
of
their
past,
future,
and
current
areas
 of
life,
which
are
experienced
as
satisfying
and
dissatisfying.

 
 THE
MEANING
OF
RECONSTRUCTION
IN
OBJECTIVE
HERMENEUTICS

 
 In
 the
 analysis
 we
 were
 interested
 in
 exploring
 which
 and
 how
 structural
 dimensions
 determine
 women´s
 acting.
 The
 purpose
 is
 not
 to
 collect
 and
 categorize
 the
 subjective
 meanings
of
the
interviewees.
Oevermann
(2002)
criticises
this
methodological
path
as
 “logic
 of
 subsumption.”
 He
 emphasises,
 however,
 the
 reconstruction
 of
 the
 structural
 meaning
 of
 human
 acting
 with
 the
 method
 of
 objective
 hermeneutics.
 Following
 the
 understanding
 of
 objective
 hermeneutics,
 every
 human
 act
 is,
 in
 principle,
 based
 on
 social
 structures.
 These
 structures
 are
 not
 empirical,
 which
 means
 they
 are
 imperceptible
 and
 invisible,
 it
 is
 therefore
 crucial
 to
 reconstruct
 the
 latent
 structural
 meaning.
 Social
 structures
 are
 not
 only
 produced
 by
 human
 beings.
 Although
 these
 structures
 guide
 actions
 and
 are
 carried
 by
 people,
 they
 nevertheless
 have
 their
 own
 existence.
 Furthermore,
 these
 structures
 are
 real
 and
 timeless,
 yet
 they
 are
 not
 static,
 they
are
in
a
continuous
process
of
transformation
(Reichertz,
1997).
 
 MODIFIED
UNDERSTANDING
OF
SOCIAL
STRUCTURE
 
 The
 understanding
 of
 social
 structure
 was
 one
 aspect
 of
 Oevermanns
 thinking
 we
 did
 not
agree
with
in
every
detail.
In
his
perspective
on
the
process
of
interpretation,
social
 structures
 were
 only
 reconstructed.
 It
 seems
 to
 only
 be
 an
 updating
 of
 the
 existing
 structure.
 In
 our
 study,
 the
 understanding
 of
 social
 structure
 and
 its
 reconstruction
 is
 inspired
 by
 poststructural
 positions.
 Investigation
 is
 always
 realised
 as
 a
 performative
 act.
 Thus,
 this
 reconstruction
 is
 part
 of
 the
 production
 of
 structures
 and
 it
 makes
 no
 sense
 to
 depict
 structure
 as
 independent
 from
 the
 performance.
 Within
 different
 positions
of
language
philosophy,
the
meaning
of
structure
in
objective
hermeneutics
is
 related
 to
 what
 Krämer
 (2001)
 specified
 as
 “two‐world‐model”—in
 contrast
 to
 the
 “performance‐model.”
 In
 the
 two‐world‐model,
 there
 is
 a
 distinction
 between
 a
 pure
 language,
grammatical
rules
or
competence,
and
the
realization/updating
in
speaking
or
 performing.
Hence
reconstruction
meant
to
convey
the
structure
from
‘underground’
up
 to
the
surface.
While
this
perspective
emphasises
a
pure
language
and
pure
structure
in
 a
performative
point
of
view,
the
active
act
of
performing
is
called
attention
to.
 
 “We
do
things
with
language,
produce
effects
with
language,
and
we
do
things
to
language,
 but
language
is
also
the
thing
that
we
do.
Language
is
a
name
for
our
doing:
both
‘what’
 we
do
…
and
that
which
we
effect,
the
act
and
its
consequences.”
(Butler,
1997,
p.
8)
 
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
50
‐
54 51 In
 such
 a
 conceptualisation,
 structural
 dimensions
 have
 no
 ontological
 position.
 They
 exist
because
of
ritualised
repetition
of
convention.
Structures
precede
speech,
but
they
 need
to
 be
repeated
 to
 become
 an
 ongoing
reality.
To
acknowledge
that
structures
are
 not
 ontological
 does
 not
 lead
 to
 absolute
 arbitrariness.
 Structures
 are
 powerful
 formations.
In
this
regard,
what
we
re‐constructed
in
our
process
of
interpretation,
are
 these
 ‘powerful
sedimentations,’
 which
are
structural
 and
regulate
 women´s
 acting.
 To
 speak
 about
 ‘powerful
 sedimentations’
 stresses
 the
 fact
 that
 social
 structures
 are
 not
 unchangeable,
it
brings
to
light
that
it
is
not
a
question
of
ontology,
but
rather
a
question
 of
 power.
 This
 epistemology
 is
 associated
 with
 Haraway’s
 (1988)
 “Situated
 Knowledges.”
 In
 her
 essay,
 she
 describes
 knowledge
 as
 a
 “condensed
 node
 in
 an
 agonistic
 power
 field”
 (Haraway,
 1988,
 p.
 577).
 Objectivity
 cannot
 be
 claimed
 by
 hierarchical,
 positivist
 categorisations
 and
 assertion
 of
 universal
 truth.
 “Feminist
 objectivity
 means
 quite
 simply
 situated
 knowledge”
 (Haraway,
 1988,
 p.
 581).
 This
 implies
that
only
a
partial
perspective
promises
an
objective
vision.
 
 Acknowledging
 performativity,
 structures
 are
 not
 unchangeable
 and
 independent
 from
 acting.
To
delineate
the
obtained
structural
dimensions,
which
are
powerful
to
common
 acting
and
biographical
decisions,
we
used
the
model
of
a
 rhizome
(Deleuze
&
Guattari,
 1992).
Deleuze
and
Guattari
criticise
classical
thinking
as
hierarchical
and
binary.
They
 use
 the
 metaphor
 of
 a
 tree
 to
 describe
 this
 conception
 of
 knowledge
 and
 suggest
 the
 metaphor
 of
 a
 rhizome
 instead.
 While
 the
 tree
 symbolises
 an
 origin
 entity
 with
 a
 primary
 root
 at
 the
 base,
 which
 is
vertically
 and
lineally
organised,
the
rhizome
 works
 with
horizontal
connections
without
a
centre.
The
model
of
a
rhizome
provides
multiple,
 non‐hierarchical
 entry
 and
 exit
 points
 in
 data
 interpretation
 and
 the
 presentation
 of
 results.
 Accordingly,
 in
 our
 interpretation,
 we
 did
 not
 explore
 that
 ‘main
 root,’
 we
 examined
condensed
nodes
in
the
netting
of
the
rhizome.
 
 Due
to
the
special
limitation
of
this
article
many
aspects
of
the
research
process
cannot
 be
described
here,
e.g.
the
important
part
of
the
close
analysis
(Feinanalyse),
an
accurate
 analysing
method
of
texts.3
 
 SOCIAL
STRUCTURES
IN
WOMEN’S
LIVES
AND
IMPLICATIONS
TO
FEMINIST
ADULT
 EDUCATION
 
 Presented
 within
 the
 results,
 structures
 of
 time,
 energy
 and
 assurance
 were
 powerful
 nodes
 that
 we
 have
 examined.
They
 obtain
 relevance
to
the
 acting
 of
women
and
they
 occur
 in
 different
 figures.4
 Coming
 to
 an
 end
 of
 our
 article
 we
 only
 can
 offer
 partial
 insight
into
our
results.
We
give
an
example
of
the
structural
node
of
time
and
finally
we
 indicate
implications
to
feminist‐inspired
adult
education.
 
 In
 regard
 to
 the
 structural
 node
 of
 time
 in
 women´s
 lives,
 the
 conclusion
 was,
 that
 patterns
 of
 women´s
 time
 are
 restricted
 and
 regulated
 by
 patriarchal
 structures.
 Furthermore,
these
patterns
are
connected
with
experiences
like
having
too
little
or
no
 time
or
simply
with
the
impression
that
time
is
a
scarce
property.
Concerning
scarcity
of
 time,
 Marianne
 Gronemeyer
 (2002)
 suggests
 that
 this
 is
 a
 human‐made
 phenomenon
 even
if
it
is
already
sediment
in
structures
and
seems
‘natural.’
Two
important
figures
of
 3
See
the
„steps
of
interpretation“
in
Ch ristof
et.al,
2005,
pp.
41‐45
and
Oevermann,
2002,
pp.
6‐17.
 4
For
a
more
detailed
description
see
Christof
et.al,
2005,
pp.
184‐200. Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
50
‐
54 52 time
structures
in
our
findings
were
simultaneity
and
one­after­the­other.
In
the
figure
of
 simultaneity,
women´s
lives
are
dominated
by
 the
force
of
doing
different
things
at
the
 same
time.
Regarding
biographical
patterns,
we
examined
that
women
try
to
connect
a
 professional
life
and
familial
duties.
In
their
daily
lives,
women
often
symbolically
serve
 as
‘personalised
time
managers’
for
their
family
members.
Every
member
posts
his/her
 dates
 in
 it.
 Women
 try
 to
 match
 many
 different
 time‐related
 desires
 at
 the
 same
 time.
 Consequently,
women
have
no
time
to
their
own,
and
this
structure
makes
it
appear
that
 they
are
without
personal
needs.
In
the
structural
time
figure
of
one‐after‐the‐other,
one
 result
 was
 that
 women
 follow
 new
 forms
 of
 normative
 patterns.
 Biographically,
 they
 first
aim
to
gain
a
good
vocational
education,
before
thinking
of
having
a
family.
Personal
 interests
or
desires,
which
cannot
be
managed
at
the
same
time,
have
to
be
shifted
into
 the
future
or
may
be
never
resumed.
 
 The
 invisibility
 of
 these
 time
 figures
 seems
 crucial.
 Regarding
 the
 starting
 point
 of
 the
 research
 project:
 general
adult
 education,
 this
is
an
important
 insight.
 Adult
 education
 that
 makes
 women’s
 lives
 seriously
 must
 reveal
 and
 address,
 and
 communicate
 to
 the
 structures
 which
 dominate
 women´s
 lives.
 Education
 programs,
 aimed
 to
 help
 women
 manage
 their
 lives
 within
 those
 structures
 only
 reinforces
 them,
 e.g.
 courses
 for
 time
 management
 ‘help’
 women
 cope
 with
 scarcity
 of
 time,
 neglecting
 that
 scarce
 time
 structures
 are
 powerful
 nodes
 within
 social
 structures.
 Instead,
 education
 which
 supports
women
gaining
more
possibilities
for
autonomous
choices
and
actions,
have
to
 offer
insights
into
the
structural
dimensions
of
acting,
in
this
example
concerning
time.
 Therefore
women
can
gain
awareness
of
how
structural
dimensions
dominate
their
lives
 and
how
these
powerful
sedimentations
are
socially
constructed
in
an
understanding
of
 performativity,
 which
 at
 the
 same
 time
 lead to
 the
 perspective
 of
 convertibility
 as
 a
 matter
 of
 principle.
 Feminist
 adult
 education
 does
 not
 only
 criticise,
 but
 it
 is
 also
 inspired
by
development
of
visions
and
discovery
of
new
ways
of
living.

 
 References
 
 Becker‐Schmidt,
R.
(1987).
Die
doppelte
Vergesellschaftung
–
die
doppelte
 Unterdrückung.
Besonderheiten
der
Frauenforschung
in
den
 Sozialwissenschaften.
In
:
Unterkirchner,
,
&
I.
Wagner
(Eds.),
Die
andere
Hälfte
 der
Gesellschaft
(10‐25).
Wien:
Verlag
des
Österreichischen
 Gewerkschaftsbundes.
 Butler,
J.
(1997).
Excitable
speech.
A
politics
of
the
performative.
New
York,
London:
 Routledge.
 Christof,
E.,
Forster,
E.,
Müller,
L.,
Pichler,
B.,
Rebhandl,
N.,
Schlembach,
C.,
Steiner,
P.,
&
 Strametz,
B.
(2005).
Feministische
Bildungsarbeit.
Leben
und
Lernen
zwischen
 Wunsch
und
Wirklichkeit.
Opladen:
Barbara
Budrich.
 Deleuze,
G.,
&
Guattari,
F.
(1992).
Tausend
Plateaus.
Kapitalismus
und
Schizophrenie.
 Berlin:
Merve.
 Gronemeyer,
M.
(2002).
Die
Macht
der
Bedürfnisse.
Überfluss
und
Knappheit.
Darmstadt:
 Primus
Verlag.
 Haraway,
D.
(1988).
Situated
knowledges.
The
science
question
in
feminism
and
the
 privilege
of
partial
perspective.
Feminist
Studies,
14,
575‐599.
 Krämer,
S.
(2001).
Sprache,
Sprechakt,
Kommunikation.
Sprachtheoretische
Positionen
des
 20.
Jahrhunderts.
Frankfurt
am
Main:
Suhrkamp.
 Oechsle,
M.
(2000).
Einwürfe.
Gleichheit
mit
Hindernissen.
Berlin:
Fata
Morgana.
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
50
‐
54 53 Oevermann,
U.
(2002).
Klinische
Soziologie
auf
der
Basis
der
Methodologie
der
objektiven
 Hermeneutik:
Manifest
der
objektiv
hermeneutischen
Sozialforschung.
Retrieved
 March
9,
2005,
from
http://publikationen.ub.uni‐ frankfurt.de/volltexte/2005/540/
 Reichertz,
J.
(1997).
Objektive
Hermeneutik.
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R.
Hitzler,
&
A.
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(Eds.),
 Sozialwissenschaftliche
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 Budrich.
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letzten
vier
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 nach
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2007.
Retrieved
April
9,
2008,
 from
 http://www.statistik.at/web_de/static/ergebnisse_im_ueberblick_020913.pdf
 
 AUTHOR
BIOGRAPHY
 
 Petra
 Steiner,
 M.A.,
 working
 as
 self‐employed
researcher
and
project
manager
 in
 adult
 education.
Main
fields
of
interest
are
learning
of
adults,
individual
and
political
aspects
 of
lifelong
learning
and
gender
issues.
Email
petra.steiner8@chello.at

 
 Barbara
Pichler,
M.A.,
working
as
academic
assistant
and
lecturer
at
the
Department
of
 Education
and
Human
Development,
University
of
Vienna.
Her
main
focus
of
research
is
 on
 gerontology,
 gender
 studies,
 social
 pedagogy
 and
 qualitative
 research.
 Email
 barbara.pichler@univie.ac.at
 
 
 Psychology
&
Society,
2009,
Vol.
2
(1),
50
‐
54 54 ...
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