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03 MARCH 2015

Chapter 2: Doing Research in the Real World by David Gray



2009action research • analytical surveys • constructivismcritical enquiry • David Gray • deductive reasoning • descriptive studies • epistemological perspectives • epistemologyethnography • exploratory studies • feminismhermeneutics • heuristic enquiry • inductive and deductive reasoning • inductive reasoning • interpretive studies • interpretivismJohn DeweymethodologyMichael Crottymultiple methods • naturalistic enquiry • objectivism • ontological perspectives • ontology • phenomenological research • phenomenologypositivismpostmodernismpragmatismrealismresearch approachesresearch methodologiesresearch methodologyresearch methods • research perspectives • research strategiessubjectivismsymbolic interactionismtheoretical perspectives


Liam Birtles
20 MARCH 2013

Radical Pedagogies in Architectural Education

"Pedagogical experiments played a crucial role in shaping architectural discourse and practice in the second half of the 20th century. In fact, the key hypothesis of our Radical Pedagogy[1] research project is that these experiments can be understood as radical architectural practices in their own right. Radical in the literal meaning from the Latin radice, as something belonging or relating to the root, to its foundations. Radical pedagogies shake foundations, disturbing assumptions rather than reinforcing and disseminating them. This challenge to normative thinking was a major force in the postwar field of architecture, and has surprisingly been neglected in recent years. ...

Architectural pedagogy has become stale. Schools spin old wheels as if something is happening but so little is going on. Students wait for a sense of activist engagement with a rapidly evolving world but graduate before it happens. The fact that they wait for instruction is already the problem. Teachers likewise worry too much about their place in the institutional hierarchies. Curricular structures have hardly changed in recent decades, despite the major transformations that have taken place with the growth of globalisation, new technologies, and information culture. As schools appear to increasingly favour professionalisation, they seem to drown in self–imposed bureaucratic oversight, suffocating any possibility for the emergence of experimental practices and failures. There are a few attempts to wake things up here and there but it's all so timid in the end. There is no real innovation.

In response to the timidity of schools today, the Radical Pedagogy project returns to the educational experiments of the 1960s and '70s to remind us what can happen when pedagogy takes on risks. It's a provocation and a call to arms."

(Beatriz Colomina with Esther Choi, Ignacio Gonzalez Galan and Anna–Maria Meister, 28 September 2012, The Architectural Review)

1). Radical Pedagogy is an ongoing multi–year collaborative research project by a team of PhD candidates in the School of Architecture at Princeton University, led by Beatriz Colomina and involving seminars, interviews and guest lectures by protagonists and scholars. The project explores a remarkable set of pedagogical experiments of the 1960s and '70s that revolutionised thinking in the discipline. Each student is working on one of these experiments and collectively mapping the interconnections and effects of these experiments towards a major publication and exhibition.

Fig.1 Tournaments in the Course 'Culture of the Body', at the Valparaíso School, 1975. Courtesy of Archivo Histórico Jose Vial, Escuela Arquitectura y Diseño, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso



1960s1970s20th centuryacademic disciplinesactivism • Alberto Perez-Gomez • Alexander Girard • Alexis Josic • alternative visions • Anna-Maria Meister • architectural discourse • architectural educationarchitectural pedagogyarchitectural practice • architectural radicalism • architecturearchitecture schoolsartificial intelligence • autochthonous tools • Beatriz Colomina • brave new worldBuckminster Fullerbureaucratic reduction • bureaucratic structures • call to arms • capitalist structures • Cedric Price • challenging conventionsCharles Eamescold war • collective defiance • conceptual speculation • consumable plastics • conventional logicconventionalityconventions • cultural milieu • cultural transformation • curricular structures • curriculum innovation • cybernetics • Dalibor Vesely • Daniel Libeskind • David Leatherbarrow • decentralised university • Denise Scott Brown • design disciplinedesign educationdesign formalismdesign fundamentalism • disciplinary assumptions • disciplinary limits • disciplinary protocols • disciplinary self-reflexivity • emerging practices • Emilio Ambasz • Esther Choi • experimental pedagogy • experimental practices • experimental teachinggeopolitical landscape • George Candilis • George Nelson • Germano Celant • Giancarlo De Carlo • Gillo Dorfles • globalisationGyorgy KepesHannah Arendthegelian dialecticHenri Lefebvrehermeneutics • Ignacio Gonzalez Galan • information culture • institutional authority • institutional critique • institutional hierarchies • institutionalisation • instrumentality • Jean Baudrillard • Joseph Rykwert • linguisticsman machine • mass produced desire • mass productionmodernist tradition • Mohsen Mostafavi • new social ordernew technologiesNicholas Negroponte • non-architecture • non-school • Octavio Paz • pedagogical experiments • pedagogical institutions • pedagogy • pedagogy experiments • phenomenology • post-technological society • professionalisation • progressive pedagogical initiatives • provocationquestioning traditions • radical architectural pedagogies • radical architectural pedagogy • radical architectural practices • radical pedagogical experiments • radical pedagogies • radical pedagogy • radical practice • radical practices • radical strategies • radical upheaval • radicality • radice • rapidly evolving world • Ray Eamesreconceptualisationredesigningreinterpretationresearch project • retreat into formalism • return to order • Robin Evans • science fictionself-reflexivity • Shadrach Woods • socio-political • socio-political efficacy • spaceships • speculative interventionsspeculative proposalssubversive actions • Suzanne Keller • taking risks • techno-utopia • technological • technological advancestechnological determinism • Texas Rangers • The Architectural Review • transformational engagementUmberto Ecoutopian perspectiveutopian technological prophecyVietnam war


Simon Perkins
19 JANUARY 2013

Hermeneutics: where meaning is inter-subjectively created

"Hermeneutic theory is a member of the social subjectivist paradigm where meaning is inter–subjectively created, in contrast to the empirical universe of assumed scientific realism (Berthon et al. 2002). Other approaches within this paradigm are social phenomenology and ethnography. As part of the interpretative research family, hermeneutics focuses on the significance that an aspect of reality takes on for the people under study. Hermeneutics focuses on defining shared linguistic meaning for a representation or symbol.

In order to reach shared understanding as proposed in hermeneutic theory, subjects must have access to shared linguistic and interpretative resources (Marshall et al. 2001). However, hermeneutic theory also posits that linguistic meaning is likely open to infinite interpretation and reinterpretation due to the interpretative ambiguity coming from presuppositions, to the conditions of usage different from authorial intention, and to the evolution of words (Marshall et al. 2001).

Due to its interpretive nature, hermeneutics cannot be approached using a pre–determined set of criteria that is applied in a mechanical fashion (Klein et al. 1999). However, a meta–principal [sic], known as the hermeneutic circle, guides the hermeneutic approach where the process of understanding moves from parts of a whole to a global understanding of the whole and back to individual parts in an iterative manner (Klein et al. 1999). This meta–principal allows the development of a complex whole of shared meanings between subjects, or between researchers and their subjects (Klein et al. 1999).

Other co–existing principles that may help assure rigorous interpretive analysis involve: a) understanding the subject according to its social and historical context, b) assessing the historical social construction between the researcher and the subject, c) relating ideographic details to general theoretical concepts through abstraction and generalization, d) being sensitive to potential pre–conceptual theoretical contradictions between research design and actual findings, e) being aware of possible multiple interpretations among participants for a given sequence of events, and f) being conscious of potential biases or systematic distortions in the subject's narratives (Klein et al. 1999)."

(IS Theory, 15 November 2011, Information Systems PhD Preparation Program of the Marriott School of Management of Brigham Young University)


abstraction and generalisation • biases • Brigham Young University • empirical universe • ethnography • evolution of words • global understanding • Heinz Klein • hermeneutic approach • hermeneutic circlehermeneutic theoryhermeneuticshermeneutische Spiralehermeneutischer Zirkel • historical social construction • ideographic details • infinite interpretation • inter-subjective • interpretation • interpretative ambiguity • interpretive nature • interpretive researchintersubjectivityiterative cycle • iterative manner • linguistic meaning • meaning • meta-principle • Michael Myers • multiple interpretations • Nick Marshall • phenomenology • pre-conceptual theoretical contradictions • presuppositions • realityreflexivityreinterpretation • rigorous interpretive analysis • scientific realism • shared interpretative resources • shared linguistic • shared linguistic meaning • shared meaningsshared understanding • social and historical context • social phenomenology • social subjectivism • social subjectivist paradigm • systematic distortions • theoretical concepts • theoretical contradictions • Tim Brady • understanding


Simon Perkins
06 JANUARY 2013

Hermeneutic Phenomenology and Phenomenology: A Comparison of Historical and Methodological Considerations

"a variety of research methodologies have grown in popularity including phenomenology, ethnography, grounded theory, and hermeneutic phenomenology (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000). As this has occurred, concern has risen about the use of qualitative methodologies without sufficient understanding of the rigor necessary to ethically utilize them (Maggs–Rapport, 2001). More specifically, phenomenology and hermeneutic phenomenology are often referred to interchangeably, without questioning any distinction between them. The purpose of this article is to discuss the early philosophical development of selected key issues related to phenomenology and hermeneutic phenomenology and support the position that differences and similarities exist. This exploration will begin with the phenomenology of Husserl and then move to explore heremeneutic phenomenology through Heidegger and Gadamer. Exploration will be given to how these different philosophical perspectives have an impact on the practice of phenomenology and hermeneutic phenomenology as research methodologies."

(Susann M. Laverty, 2003)

Laverty, S. M. (2003). "Hermeneutic phenomenology and phenomenology: A comparison of historical and methodological considerations". International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 2(3). Article 3. Retrieved 06 January 2013 from


conducting researchEdmund Husserlepistemologyethnography • form and nature of reality • Frances Maggs-Rapport • grounded theoryHans-Georg Gadamer • hermeneutic phenomenology • hermeneuticsInternational Journal of Qualitative MethodsMartin HeideggermethodologyNorman Denzinontological perspectiveontologyphenomenology • philosophical development • philosophical perspectives • qualitative methodologiesresearch methodologiesrigourYvonna Lincoln


Simon Perkins
30 OCTOBER 2011

Phenomena we confront are always richer than the abstractions we use to explain them

"The realization that the phenomena we confront are always richer than the abstractions we use to explain them is central to a Goethean approach. This realization is the expression of a two–fold awareness or sensitivity that Goethe points to with his expression 'delicate empiricism' (Goethe, 1829, in Miller, 1995, p. 307). First, we experience a phenomenon (a mouse, a wooded swamp, a range of blue hills in the distance, or the clouds moving across the sky) as a kind of fullness that calls forth wonder, curiosity, questioning. We want to get to know it better, or as Goethe states it radically, 'become utterly identical with it' (ibid.). This is empiricism, because we orient all our striving around the phenomena themselves. A phenomenon is what meets the eye but we also experience it is as something more, as a kind of surface that is pregnant with a depth we may be able to plumb. But we realize that we will not fathom these depths with models and theories, which more likely than not will lead us away from the phenomenon itself."

(Craig Holdrege, 2005)

Craig Holdrege Summer 2005, 8.1. 'Doing Goethean Science' Janus Head.


abstract modelsabstractionabstractionsacademic journal • delicate empiricism • enquiry • Goethe • Goethean approach • Goethean methodology • Goethean science • Johann Wolfgang von Goethephenomenaphenomenologyphenomenonresearchtheoretical reflectiontheories


Simon Perkins

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