The Performativity of Qualitative Social Research

Rainer Diaz-Bone


Within the last two decades qualitative social research has established itself in most, if not all, of the social sciences. But this emergence has proceeded very differently in institutional and in socio-cognitive aspects. From the beginnings of qualitative social research, critical stances toward science , the sociology of science, and methodological reflexivity organized self-observation. For a long time qualitative social research compared itself primarily to quantitative social research. But in the last years, qualitative social research began focusing more on its own processes and evaluative criteria. The concept of performativity is suitable to ground a theoretical reflection on this new focus in self-observation. This concept has proved useful in analyzing the practices of science, especially in approaches as Actor-Network-Theory and Social Studies of Finance. The article introduces the concept of performativity and describes those dimensions most relevant for the field of qualitative social research. An extended perspective for a sociology of social research is developed.



performativity; sociology of social research; Paul Lazarsfeld; Herbert Blumer; pragmatism; qualitative data analysis software


Copyright (c) 2011 Rainer Diaz-Bone

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