Interpretive Approaches to the EU
Edited by Hubert Heinelt and Sybille Münch
Chapter 4: How to explain discursive change: an actorcentered approach to interpretive explanation
Explaining discursive change by economic, social and political contexts is a well-known type of research strategy used inside and outside interpretive social science. But is it possible to explain discursive change in a particular interpretive way? This chapter develops a basic model of interpretive explanation. Interpretive explanation is based on the understanding of the internal rationality of the discourse. It shows that discursive changes are triggered by reasons that prove to be good against the background of the standards proper to the discursive formation. Balances of acceptance are the discourse-internal factors through which the dynamics leading to change are induced or not. A six-stage model of interpretive explanation will be developed which demonstrates the manageability of the approach presented for empirical studies on European policies.
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