Critical Transformative Dialogues: A Research Method Beyond the Fusions of Horizons
The way we interpret texts in hermeneutic research has evolved from guidelines for interpreting biblical texts to engaging in question and answer conversations with the aim of finding mutual understanding, to challenging reached mutual understandings and finding meaning beyond the dialogue partners' understanding. We present a progression and blending of different hermeneutics from the fusion of horizons approach of GADAMER's philosophical hermeneutics, through the GADAMER-HABERMAS debate to explore the interface between interpretive and critical approaches to text interpretations, to arrive at a research strategy that was created out of this debate. This strategy, critical transformative dialogues, emphasises a) a deep understanding of the phenomenon being researched as well as b) a sceptical stance to this newly found deep understanding and c) the value of dialogue in transcending a fusion of understandings to achieve transformative action. This strategy is explored in a project in the health sector in which the phenomenon being investigated, as well as the research approach, created emancipatory dialogues in practice.
dialogues; transformation; critical hermeneutics; Habermas; hermeneutic interpretation; Gadamer