Chapter 5: Methodological Approach: Social Constructionist Paradigm and Bourdieu’s Relational Methodology
INTRODUCTION TO THE CHAPTER 5.1 In wrestling with the ways in which these [research] philosophies forestructure our efforts to understand what it means to ‘do’ qualitative inquiry, what we face is not a choice of which label – interpretivist, constructivist, hermeneuticist, or something else – best suits us. Rather, we are confronted with choices about how each of us wants to live the life of a social inquirer (Schwandt, 2000, p. 205). The purpose of this chapter is to lay down the research paradigm underpinning the research. It starts with the definitions of ‘paradigm’ and an introduction of Burrell and Morgan’s (1979) four-grid paradigmatic approach. The social constructionist paradigm is then discussed as the underlying paradigm in the current research. This is followed by the elaboration of the terms ‘ontology’, ‘epistemology’ and ‘methodology’ in relation to the nature of this research. The chapter concludes with Bourdieu’s (Bourdieu, 1977, 1986, 1990, 1998; Bourdieu and Wacquant, 1992) frameworks, which are used in investigating nascent entrepreneurship and learning. 5.2 RESEARCH PARADIGMS Lincoln and Guba (1985, p. 15) argue that ‘paradigms represent a distillation of what we think about the world’. The term ‘paradigm’ derives from Kuhn’s (1970) thesis where he referred to a set of beliefs, values, assumptions and techniques, which serves as ‘a regulatory framework of metaphysical assumptions shared by members of a given community’ (Kuhn, 1970, p. 175). He views this web of belief as underpinning scientific communities and their practices (Lowe, 2004, p. 209). In this respect Lowe (2004) maintains it is...
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