Social Work and Hermeneutic Phenomenology

  • Andrea Margaret Newberry University of Calgary
Keywords: hermeneutics, interpretation, phenomenology, social work

Abstract

In this article, I discuss the connections between social work practice and interpretive approaches to knowledge building, introduce and situate hermeneutic phenomenology for novice social work researchers, and explore the fit between hermeneutic phenomenology and social work.  This paper also presents a historical, methodological, and philosophical overview of the roots of hermeneutic/interpretive phenomenology from Augustine to Sartre.  I advocate for the congruence between an hermeneutic approach and social work research due to its focus on inquiry as application, emphasis on the situated nature of human experiences, concept of attention to the unspoken or undisclosed, idea of the hermeneutic circle as a link between individual experiences and larger structures, fusion of horizons, and inclusion of the practitioner identity in research activities.

Author Biography

Andrea Margaret Newberry, University of Calgary

PhD Candidate

Faculty of Social Work

University of Calgary

References

Beyer, C. (2011). Edmund Husserl. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Winter 2011 ed.). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/husserl/

Canadian Association of Social Workers. (2005). Code of Ethics. Retrieved from Canadian Association of Social Workers website: http://www.casw-acts.ca/

Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Davey, N. (2006). Unquiet understanding: Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Flynn, T. (2011). Jean-Paul Sartre. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Spring 2012 ed.). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sartre/

Gadamer, H. G. (1960/1989). Truth and method (2nd rev. ed.). (J. Weinsheimer & D. G. Marshall, Trans.). New York, NY: Continuum.

Gadamer, H. G. (1965/2007). The universality of the hermeneutical problem. (D. E. Linge, Trans.). In The Gadamer reader: A bouquet of the later writings (R. E. Palmer, Ed.). Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Gadamer, H. G. (1970/2007). Language and understanding. (R. E. Palmer, Trans.). In The Gadamer reader: A bouquet of the later writings (R. E. Palmer, Ed.). Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Gadamer, H. G. (1977/2007). Classical and philosophical hermeneutics. (R. E. Palmer, Trans.). In The Gadamer reader: A bouquet of the later writings (R. E. Palmer, Ed.). Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Gearing, R. E. (2004). Bracketing in research: A typology. Qualitative Health Research, 14(1), 1429–1452. doi: 10.1177/1049732304270394

Grondin, J. (1991/1994). Introduction to philosophical hermeneutics. (J. Weinsheimer, Trans.). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Grondin, J. (1999/2003). The philosophy of Gadamer. (K. Plant, Trans.). Montreal, Canada: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Gubrium, J. F., & Holstein, J. A. (2000). Analyzing interpretive practice. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed.) (pp. 487–508). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Holmes, C. A. (1996). The politics of phenomenological concepts in nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 24(3), 579–587. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1996.22719.x

Husserl, E. (1954/1970). The crisis of the European sciences and transcendental phenomenology. (D. Carr, Trans.). Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Laverty, S. M. (2003). Hermeneutic phenomenology and phenomenology: A comparison of historical and methodological considerations. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 2(3), 21–35. Retrieved from: http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/IJQM/index

LeVasseur, J. J. (2003). The problem of bracketing in phenomenology. Qualitative Health Research, 13(3), 408–420. doi: 10.1177/1049732302250337

Life-world. (2012). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/340330/life-world

Lopez, K. A., & Willis, D. G. (2004). Descriptive versus interpretative phenomenology: Their contributions to nursing knowledge. Qualitative Health Research, 14(5), 726–735. doi: 10.1177/1049732304263638.

Luft. S. (1998). Husserl’s phenomenological discovery of the natural attitude. Continental philosophy review, 31(2), 153–170. doi: 10.1023/A:1010034512821

Madison, G. B. (1990). The hermeneutics of post-modernity: Figures and themes. Indiana, IL: University of Indiana Press.

Makkreel, R. (2012). Wilhelm Dilthey. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Summer 2012 ed.). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dilthey/

Mead, G. H. (1962). Mind, self, and society from the standpoint of a social behaviorist. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Mendelson, M. (2010).

Saint Augustine. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Winter 2010 ed.). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/augustine/

Moran, D. (2000). Introduction to phenomenology. London, England: Routledge.

Moules, N. J. (2002). Hermeneutic inquiry: Paying heed to history and Hermes. An ancestral, substantive, and methodological tale. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 1(3), 1–40. Retrieved from http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/IJQM/index

Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Mullaly, B. (1997). Structural social work (2nd ed.). Don Mills, Ontario, Canada: Oxford University Press.

Payne, M. (2005). Modern social work theory (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.

Peters, M. A. (2009). Editorial: Heidegger, Phenomenology, Education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 41(1), 1–6. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-5812.2008.00516.x

Ramberg, B., & Gjesdal, K. (2009). Hermeneutics. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Summer 2009 ed.). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hermeneutics/

Smith, J. A., Flowers, P., & Larkin, M. (2009). Interpretative phenomenological analysis: Theory, method and research. London, Canada: Sage.

van Manen, M. (1990). Researching lived experience: Human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. London, England: The Althouse Press.

Wheeler, M. (2011). Martin Heidegger. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Summer 2009 ed.). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/heidegger/

Wolin, R. (1988). The French Heidegger debate. New German Critique, 45, 135–161. Retrieved from http://ngc.dukejournals.org

Zahavi, D. (2003). Husserl’s phenomenology. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Published
2012-12-20
Issue
Section
Articles