Meta-theoretical Commitments

Meta-theoretical Commitments - Theoretical Perspectives...

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Unformatted text preview: Theoretical Perspectives Theoretical Meta-Theory, Paradigms, and More Meta-theoretical Commitments *Theory framed at many levels *Micro, meso, macro; mid-range; meta, etc. *Meta-theory is “theory about theory” *Concerns the philosophical commitments of theorists *Meta-theoretical commitments define different approaches to theory development and inquiry inquiry *Five important considerations of meta-theory: *Ontology, epistemology, axiology, voluntarism, and stability/change epistemology axiology, Ontology: Nature of the Social World (Nature of Reality/Existence) *Realist stance: *The social world is seen as consisting of real entities, independent of an individual’s perception individual’s *Nominalist stance: *The social world consists of names and labels we use to structure reality *Social constructionist stance: *We create the social world through an intersubjective process of communicative interaction communicative Epistemology: The Creation and Growth of Knowledge *Objectivist stance: *Causal explanations of the social world are developed through separation of knower and known and the scientific method of *Subjectivist stance: *Emergent and local understandings of the social world are developed through situated knowledge and reports of cultural insiders through *Often leads to different methodological approaches also Axiology: The Role of Values in Theory Development *Most theorists now reject the idea that values can be totally eliminated from the research process research *Some scholars believe values only play a role in a few parts of the research process Some few *Some scholars believe values permeate the research process Some permeate *Some scholars believe values should direct the research process Some direct Human Nature (Voluntarism) Human *Deterministic views assume choices are largely made for us (by environment, biology, views structures, etc.) structures, *Free will views assume human actions are ultimately voluntary Stability/Change *Fundamentally different type of meta-theoretical consideration *Status quo seen by some as acceptable *Goal is to maintain current situation (stability) *Status quo regarded as problematic *Goal is to disrupt, challenge, critique, and/or destroy current situation (change) (change) Meta-theory Summary Chart Paradigms Paradigms *These meta-theoretical perspectives are known as paradigms These paradigms *What this is not: *What this is: *Way of seeing the world (worldview) *The set/combination of assumptions or beliefs about what the world is like (Kuhn) world *We’ll examine three guiding paradigms in communication: *Post-positive (social scientific), Interpretive (humanistic), and Critical Communication Theory: Pluralistic Perspectives *Many theoretical approaches can, and do, exist in the communication discipline *Various theoretical schools are guided by different paradigms *Are paradigms compatible with each other? *No, because… *Yes, because… *Some meta-theories try to bridge paradigms *Structuration theory *This duality suggests a way in which various meta-theoretical positions might mutually influence one another influence ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course COMM 200 taught by Professor Theiss during the Spring '07 term at Rutgers.

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