Volume 15, No. 2, Art. 1 – May 2014

Engaging Complexities: Working Against Simplification as an Agenda for Qualitative Research Today

Adele Clarke in Conversation With Reiner Keller

Abstract: In 2005, Adele CLARKE first published her book on "Situational Analysis," a well-received elaboration of grounded theory methodology. Situational analysis (SA) combines older as well as more recent traditions of pragmatist sociology, especially those of the Chicago School and social worlds/arenas theory by Anselm STRAUSS, with FOUCAULT's perspective on discourse, feminist thinking, and post-positivist epistemology. In this interview with Reiner KELLER, she explains the theoretical foundations and academic motivations of this approach, and describes the concrete analytical strategies proposed by SA. In due course, she recounts her past experiences, from her very first encounters with qualitative research up to more recent influences from feminist studies and science & technology studies. CLARKE also clarifies where SA is positioned within the broader field of qualitative methodologies, and discusses questions regarding the contribution of SA to the analysis of complex social change. SA is designed to offer an analytical heuristic able to confront these complexities with a considerably expanded set of strategies for doing qualitative research.

Key words: grounded theory methodology; discourse; symbolic interactionism; science studies; epistemology; social world; mapping; situational analysis; Strauss; Foucault

Table of Contents

1. Engaging Complexities

2. On Coming Home: The Road to Qualitative Research, GTM and Sciences & Technology Studies (STS)

3. Social Worlds/Arenas & Negotiated Orders

4. Why a Postmodern Turn for GTM?

5. On Bashing Sociology and Symbolic Interactionism

7. Situational Analysis

8. The Situation of Inquiry

8. Discourse

9. Implicated Actants

10. Positional Maps and Mapping: Heuristic Tools

11. Notice This: Different People, Different Outcome!

12. New (and Older) Feminist Epistemologies

13. Engagements of Situational Analysis

14. Exemplary Work

Appendix: Situational Analysis Websites






Biographical Note1)

Adele E. CLARKE is Professor Emerita of Sociology and Adjunct Professor Emerita of History of Health Sciences at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Her research centers on social, cultural and historical studies of science, technology and medicine with emphases on biomedicalization and common medical technologies for women such as contraception and the Pap smear. She has authored "Disciplining Reproduction: American Life Scientists and the 'Problem of Sex'" (CLARKE, 1998) which won the 1999 Basker Award from the Society for Medical Anthropology and the 2000 Fleck Award from the Society from the Social Studies of Science. She co-edited a volume on scientific practice "The Right Tools for the Job: At Work in Twentieth Century Life Sciences" (CLARKE & FUJIMURA, 1992). In women's health, Dr. CLARKE co-edited "Women's Health: Complexities and Diversities" (CLARKE, RUZEK & OLENSEN, 1997) and "Revisioning Women, Health and Healing: Cultural, Feminist and Technoscience Perspectives" (CLARKE & OLENSEN, 1999). A major collaborative project produced "Biomedicalization: Technoscientific Transformations of Health, Illness, and U.S. Biomedicine" (CLARKE, FISHMAN, FOSKET, MAMO & SHIM, 2003), and a co-edited volume on "Biomedicalization" (CLARKE, MAMO, FOSKET, FISHMAN & SHIM, 2010) includes her paper on healthscapes and their visual cultures. Her "Situational Analysis: Grounded Theory After the Postmodern Turn" (2005) won the 2006 Cooley Award from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. It has appeared in German translation as "Situationsanalyse. Grounded Theory nach dem Postmodern Turn" (2012a), edited and introduced by Reiner KELLER. She recently co-edited a four volume set on "Grounded Theory and Situational Analysis" (CLARKE & CHARMAZ, 2014). CLARKE has served on many editorial boards including East Asian Science, Technology and Society and was a co-editor of BioSocieties: Interdisciplinary Journal for Social Studies of Life Sciences. She is also a co-editor of a festschrift "Boundary Objects and Beyond: Working with Susan Leigh Star" (BOWKER, TIMMERMANS, BALKA & CLARKE, 2014). In 2012, Professor CLARKE was awarded the Bernal Prize for Outstanding Contributions from the Society for Social Studies of Science. Her current projects focus largely on the politics of reproduction and on qualitative research methods. [1]

The following interview was initially undertaken via email and co-present conversation in 2011 and 2012 and rewritten in 2013. The present version has been authorized by Adele CLARKE in May 2014. [2]

1. Engaging Complexities

Reiner KELLER: I suggest that before entering grounded theory methodology (GTM) and situational analysis (SA), we shall start with a rather general question: How would you describe what is at issue in sociology and qualitative sociological research today? [3]

Adele CLARKE: Many years ago FOUCAULT (1984) wrote about the philosophical ethos and engagement underlying his work. Inspired by that, I argue that such questions become more urgent in the new millennium in sociology and most other disciplines. New geopolitics of globalization, or preferably transnationalization, are changing how we might think about the "conditions of possibility" for the future in every substantive area and geopolitical location. Interestingly, the theme for the 2012 meetings of the American Sociological Association (ASA) was "Real Utopias: Emancipatory Projects, Institutional Designs, Possible Futures." To me, "real utopian" thinking—confronting all those contradictions—is precisely what is needed. How can we best understand the conditions of possibility vis-a-vis a particular phenomenon so that we can think and research toward (paraphrasing HARAWAY, 2007) futures of modest but livable means more equitably distributed for humans and other living things? I believe qualitative research can contribute significantly here. [4]

Although I came of age intellectually as the era of having to be a disciple of this or that approach to research and this or that person was thankfully abating in the US, I still find it important to assert that all kinds of knowledges are needed today to address pressing issues. They may be produced through all kinds of methodologies—quantitative, qualitative, multimedia. We need, for example, excellent descriptive social statistics—about people and things in the world. Troy DUSTER (2006), an African-American qualitative sociologist of science, has noted that social statistics relating to race, gender, class, location and other aspects of embodied persons and social groups are disappearing while databanks about our genomes and neurology—abstracted inner spaces—are expanding. The political consequences of such absences of research data are grave (e.g., CASPER & MOORE, 2009). [5]

And of course we need qualitative research on many things for varied reasons including enhancing our understanding of meanings and interpretations, lived experiences from trauma to utopian dreams, discourse analyses, etc. The work of Fritz SCHÜTZE (e.g., 1975, 2008) and Gerhard RIEMANN (RIEMANN & SCHÜTZE, 1991), and yourself (KELLER, 2010 [2005], 2011, 2012a, 2012b) certainly demonstrates this in the German context. While there exists an array of innovative developments in the new millennium (e.g., CLARKE, 2002; the Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research; DENZIN & LINCOLN, 2011), to me, the primary need for qualitative research is to enhance our capacities to address complexities. This is the fundamental methodological challenge of our day. [6]

Complexities/relationalities are themselves heterogeneous and we need improved means of representing them coherently (LAW, 2004; TAYLOR, 2005). Social science research has been too often simplified (STAR, 1983), rather than revealing differences, relationalities and diversities. To generate more equitable social policies that can take differences and complexities into account—human and nonhuman and from socialities to global warming—we need stronger social science methodologies that address relationalities. We need to comprehend them and what might be effective in reducing social suffering and sustaining biodiversity. I am also a great believer in studying up, studying the sites of power to allow more effective interventions toward enhanced social justice through improved governance (e.g., BOGNER, LITTIG & MENZ, 2009; CHARMAZ, 2011; HARVEY, 2011; MIKECZ, 2012). Comparatively few such studies are undertaken today. [7]

2. On Coming Home: The Road to Qualitative Research, GTM and Sciences & Technology Studies (STS)

Reiner KELLER: Could you please tell us a little bit about your way to GTM? How did you enter this field of social sciences and sociological inquiry? What was fascinating about? [8]

Adele CLARKE: As a student in the scientistic 1960s, my exposure to qualitative research was minimal. But at Barnard College, Renee FOX had us read Laura BOHANNAN's "Return to Laughter" (1964) on doing ethnography, and I was inspired. At New York University where I took my Masters in sociology, we were trained only in statistics and survey methods, even though several of the faculty did interview-based studies. But Eliot FREIDSON brought Howard BECKER to give a talk and we read qualitative work. In my job in survey research, I noticed that answers to "open-ended" questions were left in the file cabinets because no one knew what to do with them. I had done the interviews and was haunted. [9]

A decade later, I sought a doctoral program in sociology that would allow me to specialize in qualitative research, medical sociology, and women's health. A most generous colleague at Sonoma State University, Kathy CHARMAZ, directed me to UCSF, Anselm STRAUSS and Ginnie OLESEN. Entering UCSF as a student in 1980, I finally "came home" intellectually and methodologically—to symbolic interactionism (SI) and GTM (CLARKE & STAR, 1998). As students, we pursued our own research projects from design to final presentations with superb faculty: Ginnie OLESEN and Lenny SCHATZMAN taught field research while Anselm followed with qualitative analysis in a small working group. We even read and commented on Anselm's draft chapters for his book "Qualitative Analysis for Social Scientists" (STRAUSS, 1987) that actually offers transcripts of some of our working group's sessions. GTM began seeping into my bones. My dissertation research (discussed below) coalesced and inscribed my commitments to it. [10]

When I became a student at UCSF, I had been teaching women's studies for some years and brought a strong feminist sensibility to bear on issues of methods as well as substance. I immediately met Susan Leigh STAR in Anselm's symbolic interactionist theory class and soon we were in a writing group for qualitative researchers, including Kathy CHARMAZ and others. Leigh later wrote beautifully of her long and angst-ridden trek towards Anselm and GTM (STAR, 2007), which paralleled my own. We were both infinitely grateful at finding an intellectual home. We held each other up through Anselm's memorials in 1996, and when she died in 2010, another piece of me died with her. We shared a deep understanding of GTM as in some ways always already feminist (CLARKE, 2006, 2012b). And we painfully discussed Anselm's and Barney's lack of a grasp of feminism, which I have since written about (CLARKE, 2008, 2010). [11]

After I completed my PhD, I worked on a large women's health project with Ginnie OLESEN, taught in both sociology and history of health sciences programs at UCSF, and then held a postdoc in the sociology of organizations at Stanford University with Richard SCOTT, a most generous mentor. To my considerable surprise, in 1989 I was hired into the faculty position vacated by Anselm STRAUSS at UCSF when he was required to retire at age 70. (Happily we no longer have such ageist requirements.) I've just completed an autobiography that tells the rest of this story, part of a series published by Studies in Symbolic Interaction (CLARKE, 2012c). [12]

Reiner KELLER: Did you work with Straussian GTM? Which topics? [13]

Adele CLARKE: I began working with classic GTM (see GLASER & STRAUSS, 1967) as a doctoral student with Anselm. There were two major trajectories of my projects then, both very Anselmian. First I took his focus on the sociology of work into the domain of scientific practices, focusing on the actions of reproductive scientists—what they actually did. Since 1987, I have published on their organization of access and maintenance of nonhuman research materials. Joan FUJIMURA and I co-edited a book called "The Right Tools for the Job: At Work in Twentieth Century Life Sciences" (CLARKE & FUJIMURA, 1992), also translated into French. Monica CASPER and I (1998) did classic GTM analyses of the Pap smear, including making a wrong tool for the job into the right tool. Carrie FRIESE and I recently published a paper comparing mid-twentieth century reproductive scientists' animal models with those of the contemporary cloning of endangered species in zoos (FRIESE & CLARKE, 2012). [14]

The second trajectory of my classic GTM work focused on social worlds/arenas and disciplinary emergence. Anselm had just started publishing on this (STRAUSS, 1978a), and I took off with it in 1980 and am still engaged. My book, "Disciplining Reproduction: Modernity, American Life Sciences and the 'Problems of Sex'" (CLARKE, 1998) is literally organized via social worlds theory. For each of the two eras examined, I had a chapter centered on the reproductive science and another on the non-scientific world most important to that science at the time—the two key and intersecting worlds. In the emergence era (1910-1925), the non-scientific world was the major external funding source for the science. In the coalescence era (1925-1940), it was the birth control/population control movements which served as markets and advocates for the science. Leigh STAR, Joan FUJIMURA and I also brought social worlds/arenas analysis into science, technology and medicine studies (for a review, see CLARKE & STAR, 2008). [15]

Social worlds/arenas theory is concerned with what we may call the meso-level—recognizing, of course, that there are no boundaries in practice—just complex fluidities. I have always been especially interested in this meso- or organizational/institutional level of analysis. It is where the macro-level long duree forces of urbanization, industrialization, gender/racial/ethnic formation, neoliberalism and globalization/transnationalization are temporally, geopolitically and temporarily instantiated—grounded in local/regional practices that become routinized, normalized, mundane. As a young social scientist in the 1980s, I felt this level had been comparatively under-developed in sociology and beyond. Interestingly, I was far from alone in thinking this and there are today a number of such theoretical frameworks from actor-network theory to assemblage theory, various forms of network analysis and, of course, a number of forms of discourse analysis (about which more below). These various approaches foreground different facets and it is exciting to have an array of approaches that can do the full range of work. [16]

I think this level of analysis is so important because, in a quite Anselmian way, we can see the engagements with macro-level forces such as neoliberalism and transnationalism in meso-level research. And we can also, even in the same project, choose to examine issues at more micro-levels in relation to meso-levels, such as the importance of a particular individual to a specific line of work or discipline. I am well aware that micro-/meso-/macro-"talk" has disappeared from many social science venues. But I have spent twenty years teaching doctoral students how to do qualitative research, many of whom have no social science background. I find these metaphors extremely valuable precisely because so few of them have any conceptualization of "the social" beyond specific groups. In too many ways, "the social" has gone "missing in action." Yet all over the world today, people with zero background in social theory working in the health sciences, policy, education, social work, etc., are trying to learn qualitative methods—to analyze social phenomena. Happily, new books are emerging to address these gaps (e.g., JACKSON & MAZZEI, 2012; LURY & WAKEFORD, 2012; PASCALE, 2011)—and include pragmatist philosophy and symbolic interactionism among other perspectives. [17]

Reiner KELLER: You were talking about that you were part of a writing group with Kathy CHARMAZ, Susan Leigh STAR and others. Did you all have the same kind of attitude on these things or are there differences between you? [18]

Adele CLARKE: Kathy, Leigh and I and others were in a writing group in the early 1980s, and it was GTM that welded us together. But Kathy was not particularly involved in feminist projects. [19]

Reiner KELLER: And each of those researchers had their own interests of research with different things—like Kathy with her work on multiple illnesses, and Susan Leigh STAR, closer to STS, e.g. with her work on boundary objects or classifications etc. [20]

Adele CLARKE: Oh yes. Much of Leigh STAR's career was in computer and information science. Another world entirely. And Kathy and I are both medical sociologists. [21]

Reiner KELLER: There has been a big impact in the 1990s and 2000s of science and technology studies—lots of new ideas. Things started off from the earlier more discourse-oriented work on scientific representation, and then moved towards the actor-network things. How would you see the future of science and technology studies now, in a modest way? In the big picture—or what is happening there? [22]

Adele CLARKE: It is funny, you should ask. It is exploding! At my first "4S" (Society for Social Studies of Science) conference in 1982, you could fit everybody in one room! And now there are thousands of people. 4S is very transnational, but meetings are in English. It is also becoming more global. Since it was founded it has met in Europe with the European society every four years. Then in 2010 we met in Tokyo, in 2014 it will be in Buenos Aires, and there is talk of meeting in Africa. Like most societies that are successful, 4S is also specializing. There are now streams of sessions on particular topics that cut across multiple days so people who work on medicine and the life sciences can attend that stream, or environmentalism, conservation and ecology, and new areas like food safety. There is a focus too on issues of participation in science and citizenship in different countries. The area that excites me is critical health studies, which draw on Foucauldian bio-power, bio-politics, bio-capital, etc. to examine the shift from international public health to high-tech (and biomedicalizing) global health, which is very disturbing. In the past, there was more effort to understand different disciplines and their methods better. Now I would say that most of the research is qualitative and typically "multi-site ethnography" that draws on different genres of data including interviews, documents, scientific papers, ethnographic observations, etc. While there continues to be lots of actor-network theory inspired work, many other approaches are used. But it is so big now that I cannot really characterize that very well. Overall, then, there is some wonderful stuff and also more weak work where it is clear that the presenter doesn't know STS well. C'est normal when a field becomes very popular and chic. [23]

3. Social Worlds/Arenas & Negotiated Orders

Reiner KELLER: You just mentioned social worlds/arenas theory in Straussian work. This might not well be known even by GTM researchers or in qualitative research all over the world (in Germany surely, it is rather unknown). And the same counts for its relation to STRAUSS negotiated order approach. Could you explain in more detail the general idea of this, and how it relates to your work? [24]

Adele CLARKE: Ok, yes, sure. I have written about this with precise care in the book. STRAUSS started theorizing his negotiated order work in the late 1950s, essentially arguing that the basic processes of human actions are (usually) negotiations of some sort In 1978, STRAUSS published the first of several papers on social worlds/arenas theory which provided a loose but very coherent and useful structural framework within which negotiated ordering generally occurs (STRAUSS, 1978b). The gist of social worlds/arenas is that social life is organized through our commitments to various collectivities. These can be families, disciplines, communities, organizations, you know, various kinds of hobby groups. We are sitting here and looking at the community garden next to my house. So some people have made commitments to the community garden ... All of these collective entities can be understood as social worlds, meaning making worlds that organize people's commitments to action. The action part is very STRAUSS! And you can look at social life as a constantly moving mosaic of social worlds, many overlapping. They constitute the porously-bounded structural organization of human commitments. Some can be formal such as governments or corporations, while others can be very informal. For example, if you wanted to do a social worlds or arenas analysis of a lost pet in San Francisco, what social worlds and arenas would be involved? So the key social worlds would include the various city agencies, I believe. And (I would have to research this) the city may contract with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), pay the SPCA to organize people to go pick up stray dogs and cats that are reported. And the Department of Health would be licensing or approving the animal care buildings where the animals are held, for health issues. The SPCA itself is a private charity so they would have a local board of directors and organized volunteer teams because it is a volunteer based organization. They would have fundraising and that would link the local SPCA to the national SPCA, because they might get some of the money the national organization raises. There would be lost pet emergency phone lines, websites, and on and on! [25]

So just around lost or stray pets, there are a host of different social worlds in the arena. In this case, the arena broadly conceived could be labeled the "Lost and Found Pet Animal Arena." It doesn't include wild animals like coyotes and raccoons, or exotics which are mostly at the Zoo, though I bet there are requests for help about these too. Inside the arena would be the various social worlds/organizations involved: the San Francisco Department of Health, the San Francisco Society for the Prevention for Cruelty to Animals (SFSPCA), other pet-oriented organizations (there are more dogs than children here), any affiliation of veterinarians. I would place the organizations that run the parks in there too, because I bet that most strays are reported in parks, and the parks probably have policies and maybe even workers who deal with this. There are city, state and federal parks—all run by different bureaucracies! Dito the San Francisco Police Department. And the Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Control if the stray looks sick. [26]

These are likely overlapping worlds that concern urban communities, health and safety, etc. All may be implicated in this arena. To really understand the arena, you would want to understand both how those worlds are organized in themselves and in interaction with one another. And, especially in these tight fiscal times, arena participants would be very tense about whose responsibility it was to do which work. Funding is the issue. Maintaining animal facilities, maintaining vans to collect these animals, means of safety, means of adopting the animals, disposing of unwanted animals, people to euthanize them and organize the remains, etc. It is a huge and complicated set of projects that people commit to and that is made possible through cooperation across these different worlds and the organization of funding and volunteers to support them. On much of the planet, nothing would be done about such animals. They would just be left to fend for themselves. Live or let die as FOUCAULT noted. [27]

Reiner KELLER: So a social world, it is not an organization, it is not the ... [28]

Adele CLARKE: It can be an organization or it can be very informal, like a hobby group. Reiner KELLER: It is not just people lingering together in the same place. [29]

Adele CLARKE: No no, not at all. The hardest part of the concepts of social worlds and arenas for newcomers to grasp is that these are flexible—elastic—concepts. They can stretch or shrink to fit our analytic purposes. A social world could be a bunch of people who share a particular hobby, say they go birding together in Golden Gate Park once a month on the second Saturday and always meet in the same place at the same time or have a set list of where they will go. Or more likely today, someone would post that week's location on line. So that is a little social world, okay? It is an informal social world. If you wanted to understand that world a little more, you might want to understand the more formal organization of what is called birding here, and if there are birding societies that some of these people are active in, and how the parks might facilitate or hinder birding. And the parks are big, formal organizations, right? And as I mentioned, there are city, state and federal parks here. So you have a little world, a little social world, intersecting with three big organizational entities. GOFFMAN would smile. [30]

Reiner KELLER: It reminds me of the concepts of "The Small Life Worlds of Modern Men." Benita LUCKMANN (1970) created this expression which in a certain way could be used for referring to the birding people. So in the same place for example you can have different social worlds crossing each other, there are the bird watchers, there is the football world ... [31]

Adele CLARKE: Yes, exactly! In the park, we also have museums, so there are a lot of things going on. Art worlds intersecting with bird worlds, and then we have a botanical garden and a lot of roller skating. So all kinds of different worlds. Anybody can stop and watch the skating but there are regulars who come to skate all the time, so they form a social world. They know about skating in the park—they are the "insiders" of that world while the observers are outsiders looking in—unless they become regulars!! Change their positions! [32]

Reiner KELLER: And one can switch between different worlds during the course of the day. [33]

Adele CLARKE: Yes, many! It is hard not to, unless you stay home. Even then, you can read or go online and suddenly you are part of virtual social worlds such as Facebook. [34]

Reiner KELLER: So I think it is important to get this a little more explored! [35]

Adele CLARKE: I did not say enough about arenas yet, I think. Let me clarify a bit more. An arena happens where multiple worlds intersect, where their interests intersect. And the intersecting worlds may and usually do have contrasting and sometimes contradicting interests in terms of what they want to accomplish. So social worlds and arenas operate at the meso-scale of analysis. As I mentioned, I am drawing here on the heuristically useful micro-, meso-, and macro-distinction. Broader macro-processes of globalization, racial formation, gender formation, urbanization, industrialization, etc., are at levels of abstraction that seem far removed from empirical worlds, empirical possibilities. But social worlds and arenas as organizing devices or mechanisms stand in between macro and micro. They allow you to see how broad macro-level processes such as urbanization might be manifest, such as in city parks. In cities, we organize nature for public consumption—parks, biking areas, etc. So at the meso-level, parks are organized by cities. Historically in the United States, this was a big innovation. And at the micro-level, you might have particular park designers, landscape architects, who are very important historically. A handful of people designed some of the major urban parks in the US (Central Park in Manhattan, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Milwaukee's necklace of parks, and many others). Single individuals such as Frederick Law OLMSTEAD can really matter in long-term historical meso-level, organizational phenomena. Social worlds and arenas analysis allows one to look at macro-level trends and processes and see how entities of the micro-level might matter in that. You can hold on to both at once. I have always been interested in trying to hold on to many different things at the same time that you are not supposed to be able to. At least I have tried. [36]

Reiner KELLER: Anselm STRAUSS wrote articles on these concepts but he never wrote a book. It is just a collection of articles. [37]

Adele CLARKE: On social worlds and arenas ... yes. [38]

Reiner KELLER: Did he do a kind of research or study? [39]

Adele CLARKE: Yes. One of the very first books he wrote has social worlds embedded in it via the negotiated order—"Psychiatric Ideologies and Institutions" (STRAUSS et al., 1965). It was an ethnographic monograph done by an interdisciplinary team who studied Michael Reese Psychiatric Hospital near Chicago: three sociologists and two psychologists, one of whom, Melvin SABSHIN, went on to become president of the American Psychological Association. It was very Chicago school to be multidisciplinary (see FINE, 1995). But it was also very much who Anselm was intellectually. The book looked at the different kinds of psychiatrists practicing in this hospital at the time and what they were doing. There were more conventional psychiatrists who believed in medications and surgeries for mental illness, but there were also a lot of psychiatrists into talk therapies. Not only Freudian but also new forms of group provision, group therapy, group counseling, etc. There were heated debates and contentions among the different groups and those were the social worlds in the arena of that hospital. And they had to negotiate with each other in terms of running the hospital: Who was going to have which patients? Which wards? Which nurses? Which nurses wanted to do which kind of work? Etc. So the very organization of the hospital starts becoming explicitly related to the psychiatric social worlds—to the commitment-based subgroups of psychiatrists. Another sociologist on this team, Rue BUCHER, also developed social worlds and arenas theory. She was interested in how change happens in professions and specialties, and her work remains classic even though less famous (see BUCHER, 1962, 1988; BUCHER & STRAUSS, 1961). [40]

Reiner KELLER: In Germany I think the mostly known Anselm STRAUSS' empirical work is the research on dying and on ... [41]

Adele CLARKE: Yes, the books on dying he did with Barney GLASER pursued just after each of their fathers had died: "Awareness of Dying" (GLASER & STRAUSS, 1965), "Time for Dying" (GLASER & STRAUSS, 1968) and "Anguish" (GLASER & STRAUSS, 1970). They were famous here too—very important early interventions into the silence and lying that pervaded dying and death in hospitals and elsewhere in the 1950s. As if talking about death were obscene. [42]

But let me back up a minute and give you my take on Anselm's intellectual trajectory. His first book focused on the micro-level: "Mirrors and Masks: The Search for Identity" (STRAUSS, 1959). But then he turned to the meso-level with several books based on hospital ethnographies. The two dying books written with Barney we just mentioned, and then "Psychiatric Ideologies and Institutions" (STRAUSS, SCHATZMAN, BUCHER, EHRLICH & SABSHIN, 1965) where you can see the emergent structure of his later social worlds and arenas framework. This book led next to his more explicit work on negotiated order: "Negotiations: Varieties, Contexts, Processes and Social Order" (STRAUSS, 1978b). Here he foregrounded the processes of negotiations rather than the structural units (social worlds and arenas). I find it so interesting that in the same year that "Negotiations" was published, so too was his first article on social worlds (STRAUSS, 1978a). [43]

Anselm's work on negotiated order was hugely popular in the United States and elsewhere and remains lively today. I recently presented a retrospective paper on fifty years of Straussian negotiated order research. So the concept of negotiation was incredibly productive for many decades and still is. But it is also the ways in which he suggested thinking about process, you know, in that early book. Negotiating was the foregrounded overarching process. Later on he became interested in structure as well. Realizing that you can have both, that one need not "pick one or the other" (a false choice of his era and beyond), he began formulating social worlds and arenas theory. As a more structural theory, social worlds/arenas is very interactionist in its elastic processes of formation and change. Anselm wrote about processual structuring and how these were—well, today we would call them co-constitutive. [44]

Anselm started publishing on social worlds and arenas in 1978, and there were four or five articles developing this theory over the next five or so years (see STRAUSS, 1978a, 1978b, 1982a, 1982b, 1984). By then he was not doing new research projects himself because of his health. After his severe heart attack in 1979, he was mostly doing collaborative writing on medical work and I can feel the social worlds stuff in a lot of the writing. They are gorgeously sociological papers on social worlds theory.2) One more recent development along these lines that I would like to mention about process is the work of a younger sociologist, Michael SCHWALBE (2008; SCHWALBE et al., 2000). He has been writing about generic social processes and the (re)production of inequality in very important ways. How do such processes reinstantiate, (re)produce social structures—classic interactionist work. [45]

4. Why a Postmodern Turn for GTM?

Reiner KELLER: So given all this concepts and ideas, how does this refer to your re-orientation of GTM work to "grounded theorizing"? What made you feel that there should be elaboration towards the postmodern turn and SA? How did you enter this field of thought and argument? [46]

Adele CLARKE: As faculty at UCSF, I soon began co-teaching the yearlong sequence of courses in qualitative research and analysis with very methodologically sophisticated colleagues from nursing. Across years of teaching GTM and conversations with other grounded theorists, notably Kathy CHARMAZ and Leigh STAR, I gradually generated a critique of some aspects of it. Then in 1995, I was a Residential Research Fellow at the University of California Humanities Research Institute in a group on "Feminist Epistemologies and Methodologies." This incredible group of scholars included the major post-structural theorist of methodology today, Patti LATHER (e.g., 2007, 2013), as well as Katie KING, and others. This put me over the edge and I knew I had to do something about GTM method and poststructuralism. [47]

I then wrote an article on SA which was recruited for Symbolic Interaction (CLARKE, 2003) and well received. But critique and the messy situational map were not enough. I decided to do a book that would both seriously take on the theoretical and philosophical shortcomings of GTM (e.g. CLARKE, 2007) and offer a methodological extension of it—SA—that attempts to take the postmodern/interpretive turn into account. It was both agonizingly hard and dead easy. [48]

Of course, developments from constructionist theory to postmodernism and poststructuralism reverberated loudly throughout qualitative research worlds. Divergent positions were taken over the past two decades or so regarding GTM. For example, Barney GLASER (1992) mounted major critiques of STRAUSS and CORBIN's (1990) work and constructionist perspectives more generally. Kathy CHARMAZ (e.g. 2000, 2006) developed and defended constructionist/interpretive GTM, including an excellent text that I used in teaching. Recently, Jan MORSE organized a conference day on "the second generation" of grounded theorists and produced a useful book reflecting the full array of our approaches (MORSE et al., 2009). DENZIN (2007) describes the Glaserian approach as objectivist, the STRAUSS and CORBIN version as systematic, the CHARMAZ version as constructivist, and my own as situationist. I think these terms work well. [49]

I should add here that we are currently revising the book for a second edition and, based on what we see as the coalescence of most qualitative approaches under two broad umbrellas—positivist or interpretivist—we will use the term interpretivist instead of postmodern. We see Glaserian GTM as under the positivist umbrella, and STRAUSS's and CHARMAZ's approaches as constructionist/interpretive. [50]

Reiner KELLER: In "Situational Analysis," you are combining symbolic interactionism/Chicago School style/social world/arena analysis with Foucauldian thinking, actor-network theory (ANT) and others. But the interactionist/pragmatist tradition remains the starting point or ground. Why? And why do you think its conceptual framework is not enough today? [51]

Adele CLARKE: First, SA does combine symbolic interactionism, Chicago School sociology and STRAUSS's social worlds/arena analysis with Foucauldian thinking, but its engagement with actor-network theory is minimal. In fact, Leigh STAR, Joan FUJIMURA and I mounted interactionist critiques of ANT many years ago (CLARKE & MONTINI, 1993; FUJIMURA, 1991; STAR, 1991, 1995; STAR & GRIESEMER, 1989). Most of the points still hold. I poached the useful term "nonhuman" from ANT merely to underscore the importance of "things" because adequate analyses of situations must include the nonhuman explicitly and in considerable detail. "Seeing" the agency of the nonhuman elements present in a situation disrupts the taken-for-granted, creating Meadian moments of conceptual rupture (MEAD, 1962 [1934]) through which we can see the world afresh. [52]

"Things" also mattered historically in symbolic interactionist theory. As McCARTHY (1984, pp.108-109) argued twenty years ago, long before ANT had gained renown:

"Mead speaks of the continuity that is established between the individual and the object world—a continuity which implies that the experience of self is bound up with physical things with which one has social relations [...]. To experience the resistance response of objects is to experience their action in relation to oneself [...]. Objects play a central role in the constitution and maintenance of social identities." [53]

Drawing deeply on MEAD, BLUMER (1969, pp.10-11), wrote that "the position of Symbolic Interactionism is that the 'worlds' that exist for human beings and for their groups are composed of 'objects' and that these objects are the product of symbolic interaction." This is one of the key ways in which GTM rooted in symbolic interactionism offers a distinctively materialist constructionism. SA explicitly takes the nonhuman elements in the situation of inquiry into account both materially and discursively. [54]

We do not end at our skins, but exist in relations—even co-constitution—with all kinds of things, living and not. Explicitly including the nonhuman in research also takes up the interpretive challenge of posthumanism—the idea that only humans "really" matter or "matter most." Thanks especially to the work of Donna HARAWAY (2007), today we must also problematize the concept of the "nonhuman" and the supposed divide between human and nonhuman. She argues brilliantly that "we" are not only human but also composed of millions of other organisms—counting those in our gut as well as on our skins. A human/nonhuman divide is not possible among the living—it is an historical and hubris-filled artifact of humanism—human-centered viewing and languaging (making meaning) of the world. [55]

Second, the interactionist tradition, itself rooted in pragmatism does remain my philosophical home base. For me, pragmatism laid the groundwork for the constructionism rooted in the sociology of knowledge further developed by BERGER and LUCKMAN (1966), one of the first books I read in graduate school. I see key aspects of the sociology of knowledge as rooted in American pragmatism as well as in MANNHEIM's work and others. A wonderful book by Doyle McCARTHY (1996) that I use in teaching social theory lays out many of the connections. [56]

The major reason why I do not think the symbolic interactionist conceptual framework is sufficient today is that, in practice, interactionism does not usually go "beyond the knowing subject" to generate a conceptualization of discourse in the significant meso-level and historicized trans-institutional ways which FOUCAULT did (e.g., KELLER, 2008). When I first "got" FOUCAULT's (1972) concept of discourse—not until some point in the late 1980s—I realized that I had sought something like this since the 1960s when I began to grasp the importance of the mass media. I knew then it was not only the media that generated and circulated discourses, but my theory training had not been ambitious. GRAMSCI (1971) too would have helped. And I was not alone as an interactionist in thinking this. Norm DENZIN (1992, p.xvii) wrote: "Interactionism, if it is to thrive and grow, must incorporate elements of poststructural and postmodern theory (e.g., the works of BARTHES, DERRIDA, FOUCAULT, BAUDRILLARD, etc.) into its underlying views of history, culture, and politics." I have tried to do that in SA and elsewhere in my work and teaching. My generation moved beyond disciple-hood, even beyond discipline, combining elements heretofore seen as antagonistic. [57]

To get further provoked in such directions, I regularly take myself to the annual meetings of the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry organized by DENZIN and others at the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign. My last visit, there were about 1,600 people from 82 different countries and probably 100 disciplines. It has the special excitement of participating in a transnational, transdisciplinary social movement for interpretive qualitative inquiry—very heartening in these difficult times. [58]

5. On Bashing Sociology and Symbolic Interactionism

Reiner KELLER: In Germany—and maybe in Anglo-Saxon social sciences contexts too—there has been and maybe still is an established view held by Foucauldians and poststructuralists, that Foucauldian analysis and poststructuralism have shown at last, that sociology (including interactionist traditions) has to be overcome as discipline, that it can't be combined with it, and that new authors like Judith BUTLER and others are showing us how to analyze social practices. And ANT author Bruno LATOUR (2005) has addressed very polemical arguments against symbolic interactionism. What is your view of this attempted "bashing" of SI traditions? [59]

Adele CLARKE: This is a complicated set of questions and I shall unpack it a bit. First let me briefly discuss sociology, and state clearly that I too share many many critiques. But I am also wary of such a broad dismissal of the discipline primarily because the conceptualization of sociology (perhaps especially in the U.S. as I cannot speak to the German situation) is exceptionally narrow, ahistorical and structural functionalist. It is what I view as "mainstream" sociology and does not usually include the wide range of "minority traditions" that have also long constituted it—interactionist, neo-Marxist, feminist, critical, poststructuralist, much less the (often FOUCAULT-inspired) admixtures of all of the above such as cultural studies, ethnic studies, communications and science and technology studies. These minority traditions have been manifesting, reanimating and reinvigorating sociology—as well as segmenting it—for decades (e.g. DENZIN & LINCOLN, 2011; PASCALE, 2011). But the only time I really see "mainstream" sociology is at the American Sociological Association meetings—and those are sub-divided into 52 smaller section conferences plus a few general sessions. There are always challenges to established traditions, and they are often very useful in rethinking and opening up theories and approaches we don't want to calcify. Obviously my own work engages many such challenges directly. So I wonder "Which sociology is it that needs to be/has been 'overcome'?" [60]

This leads to the more agonized question "What is an academic discipline today?" In the U.S., it seems more an entrenched academic hiring organization than a shared intellectual site of endeavor or set of intellectual questions. And given that we are facing the end of the university as we have known it—the end of a two thousand year old mode of organizing the production of knowledge—extant power structures such as disciplines are holding on for their lives. Between the neoliberal reorganization of the university as a corporation with business models for schools and departments, and the dramatic rise of on-line courses (not necessarily university-based), most if not all disciplines that are not science, engineering or computer science focused are seriously in jeopardy. [61]

I would further argue that there are questions which sociology has long engaged that are still worthy. Many new "alternatives" often lack a serious grasp of "the social" and also of organizational/institutional concerns—disciplinary hallmarks of sociology that really do "matter" (pace BUTLER and LATOUR however differently). [62]

This brings me to a key point about the strategy of "straw man" arguments where much time/space is spent being critical of that which has come before, often finding no shred of value remaining, in order to promote "the new new thing." I have long been suspect of such strategies of "putting down" to gain "a leg up"—trying to clear the field by contempt and fiat. In contrast, to me, if new work is worthy, it should be capable of standing on its own. Further, such critiques often seriously—and I suspect sometimes quite intentionally—misrepresent that which they are criticizing. I have certainly experienced this regarding my own work and about interactionism, and it is very disheartening. [63]

Second, let me discuss symbolic interactionism. As you know very well (KELLER, 2012c), this was one of the founding traditions of American sociology dating to the early twentieth century at the University of Chicago, with deep philosophical roots in American pragmatist philosophy—MEAD, DEWEY, and PEIRCE—and deep links with anthropological field research. At UCSF, those links have been sustained for decades across generations of faculty and students. Institutionally, this tradition has its own journal Symbolic Interaction (since 1978 and increasingly international), an annual review titled Studies in Symbolic Interaction (since 1973), and a major "Handbook of Symbolic Interaction" (REYNOLDS & HERMAN-KINNEY, 2003). Its organization, the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction (formed in 1978), mounts its own conference annually at the same time and place as the American Sociological Association, and has one additional meeting each year. Yet poststructuralisms created a profound schism in interactionism, generally between those who welcomed its insights (e.g. Norman DENZIN, Patricia CLOUGH, me) and those who railed against such views of the world (e.g. Bob PRUS, Patty and Peter ADLER). This schism nearly ended many of these organizations, and today their futures seem uncertain. Where there once was a loose sociological tradition, there are now several quite different ones of varying intellectual sophistication and vitality. However, I would argue that the philosophical heart of interactionism, its pragmatist foundations, not only remain vital but have increasingly become (like FOUCAULT) transdisciplinary resources. For example, there have been recent mini-renaissances reengaging John DEWEY in anthropology (e.g., COLAPIETRO, 2011; LATOUR, 2007; RABINOW, 2011), and in STS (MARRES, 2007). I myself am taking off from Charles Sanders PEIRCE's work on abduction in a recent project on anticipation (see ADAMS, MURPHY & CLARKE, 2009; CLARKE, 2014; KRAMER & RICHARDSON, 2006). [64]

Now to Judith BUTLER who I know is much esteemed in Europe and rightfully so. But she is not a new author! She is of my senior generation and I have known, appreciated and taught her work for many years. However, like many others who enter into social analysis without backgrounds in the social sciences, she fails to cite critical path-breaking earlier work related to her own. Erving GOFFMAN's (e.g., 1959) interactionist work on performativity preceded hers by decades. Of course there are differences in their theories, but he generated and sustained a very serious and widely taken up dramaturgical perspective on social life that is still quite vital today including a 2014 Special Issue of Symbolic Interaction on his work (Vol.37, No.1, pp.1-154). I see most scholarly work as taking off from something prior—that surely deserves recognition and citation. I see continuities and changes, not complete ruptures and de novo traditions. [65]

Last, I would argue that methodologically we need multiple analytics that engage the social—at the meso/institutional/organizational level. There are four major current offering: actor-network theory, assemblage theory, social worlds/arenas theory, and other variations of network theories. Each features certain aspects and relegates others to the "backburner." A particular strength of social worlds/arenas theory lies in its capacities to handle collective history and change over time. The chapter on historical discourse in my book details such analysis (CLARKE, 2005, pp.261-290). But different ways of theorizing are useful in analyzing different situations! No one theory is sufficient—even social worlds/arenas which I obviously love. In a paper with Carrie FRIESE (CLARKE & FRIESE, 2007) we engage an empirical example of when social worlds did not work analytically and assemblage theory did. I truly think we need more ways of thinking along these meso-lines. [66]

7. Situational Analysis

Reiner KELLER: We will talk later on in more detail about SA, but in order to enter your approach: What are the core elements of SA and how does it fit to the sociological concerns just mentioned? [67]

Adele CLARKE: I developed "Situational Analysis" (CLARKE, 2003, 2005) as an extension of GTM methods. Here the situation of inquiry itself broadly conceived is the key unit of analysis. This is quite different from traditional GTM which focuses on the main social processes—human action—in the area of inquiry. In SA, the situation of inquiry is empirically constructed through the making of three kinds of maps and following through with analytic work and memos of various kinds. [68]

The first maps are situational maps that lay out the major human, nonhuman, discursive, historical, symbolic, cultural, political, and other elements in the research situation of concern (see the messy abstract situational map below). The goals of this map are first to enhance research design and subsequent analyses by laying out everything about which at least some data should be gathered. Downstream in the research, situational maps are used to provoke analysis of relations among the different elements. [69]

Working against the usual simplifications (STAR, 1983) in particularly interpretive and feminist ways, these maps capture and provoke discussion of the many and heterogeneous elements and the messy complexities of the situation (see CLARKE, 2005, pp.83-123). Drawing upon STS, SA takes the nonhuman in the situation of inquiry—things (including discourses)—very seriously. In doing initial situational maps, the analyst is asked to specify the nonhuman elements in the situation, thus making pertinent materialities, symbolic elements, and discourses visible from the outset.

Figure 1: Abstract situational map (messy/working version) [70]

Second, social worlds/arenas maps lay out all of the collective actors and the arena(s) of commitment within which they are engaged in ongoing discourse and negotiations. Such maps offer meso-level interpretations of the situation, taking up its social organizational, institutional, and discursive dimensions. They are distinctively interpretive in their assumptions: we cannot assume directionalities of influence; boundaries are open and porous; negotiations are fluid; discourses are multiple and potentially contradictory. Negotiations of many kinds from coercion to bargaining are the "basic social processes" that construct and constantly destabilize the social worlds/arenas maps (CLARKE, in prep.; STRAUSS, 1978b, 1993). Things could always be otherwise—not only individually but also collectively/organizationally/institutionally/discursively, and these maps portray such interpretive possibilities, opening these areas up for analysis (see CLARKE, 2005, pp.109-124). [71]

Third, positional maps lay out the major positions taken, and not taken, in the data vis-à-vis particular axes of variation and difference, focus, and controversy found in the situation of concern. Perhaps most significantly, positional maps are not articulated with persons or groups but rather seek to represent the full range of discursive positions taken on key issues in the situation. They allow multiple positions and even contradictions within both individuals and collectivities to be articulated. Again, complexities are themselves heterogeneous and we need improved means of representing them for analysis (pp.125-136). [72]

There are specific chapters in my book on using SA to map and analyze narrative, visual and historical discourses. And across the mappings, analysts are encouraged to be systematic in addressing the data—to keep working at it even after you come up with exciting analyses because following through with the maps may reveal even better ones. "Thick analysis" is the goal (FOSKET, 2014, p.92)! [73]

8. The Situation of Inquiry

Reiner KELLER: In fact: how to define "situation": Where does it start, where does it end? [74]

Adele CLARKE: First of all, I was searching for a concept that could replace "context"— that would not imply that its elements were outside the phenomenon under examination but rather part and parcel of it. I was then inspired by several scholars regarding the concept of situation. First, the THOMAS theorem from the 1920s that "if situations are perceived as real, they are real in their consequences," at the heart of social constructionism and symbolic interactionism, is foundational for SA as well (THOMAS & THOMAS, 1970 [1928]). Second, I was inspired by C. Wright MILLS' (1940) work on situated motives, and third by Norman DENZIN's (1989 [1970]) early efforts at situating research in his book "The Research Act" which I taught for years. And last, a major resource on the concept of situation is Donna HARAWAY's (1991) classic feminist theory paper on "situated knowledges" which revisits classic issues in the Mannheimian sociology of knowledge through a feminist lens. [75]

Like the concepts of social worlds and arenas, the concept of situation is quite elastic. You ask "Where does it start, where does it end?" As Anselm's student, the only answer I can offer is that this is an empirical question! How a researcher frames their project will frame the situation to be studied, the data to be gathered and the analysis. One can focus research on a small situation or a large one. Generally speaking, more broadly focused qualitative empirical research usually centers on an arena or a set of arenas in a related domain. Leigh STAR and I reviewed an array of such projects in science and technology studies (CLARKE & STAR, 2008). Elasticity of concepts does make some people very nervous. But it is also what makes concepts capable of traveling and being useful across disciplines and specialties, tailored to local needs yet grasped and useful across worlds. Concepts are boundary objects par excellence (STAR & GRIESEMER, 1989)! So, ultimately, researchers set the boundaries of the situation when they frame their research—and this may change across the trajectory of the research project. Like GTM, SA is iterative—you discover what you are studying as you study it. [76]

Reiner KELLER: I would like to pick up on your saying that "The situation of inquiry itself is broadly conceived as a key unit of analysis" (see above). Could you explain this idea a little bit more? [77]

Adele CLARKE: In qualitative research, people choose to research many different kinds of things as topics but, in my opinion, they often conceptualize the terrain too narrowly. Say somebody wants to study what happens to stray dogs in the city of San Francisco. They might ethnographically try to follow (or in current parlance to "shadow") the current version of the "dogcatcher" and see what happens in one neighborhood, rather than look more broadly historically and contemporarily. As I discussed above, different city agencies might be involved in collecting strays, private charities in caring for them, public health units might deal with dead bodies of animals, etc. All different kinds of organizations are involved and people who work or volunteer there. The local history too might be important. So I think of this whole complex scene as a situation and look at it in terms of doing initial situational maps and thinking. SA urges people to look more broadly and see all the kinds of things—human and non-human—that might be involved: organizations, institutions, governments, or individuals. Non-humans like pets, etc. The goal is to consider the situation more broadly to capture the social in ways that are not always but too often missing. [78]

Reiner KELLER: Yeah ... and you mentioned historical elements, so going back as you did in your work. But is there a criterion to say "I will go back for about twenty years or thirty" or how can I figure out the limits of the situation, because it could be the whole world ... [79]

Adele CLARKE: Yes, yes, yes! Well, pets are an interesting example because there is such a long history, at least in the U.S., of pets being endangered if they were running loose, or be captured for scientific experiments. And the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had its origins in protecting animals from people who gathered them to sell to scientists or as food. So, knowing a little bit about that and knowing about the more recent two or three decades might be more than enough. One might look in the major local newspaper archives, figure out keywords, and do a quick search to see if anything interesting comes up. The situation could be different in this local area than in another area—very different. For example, social policies for homeless people differ dramatically across cities in the United States and have very different histories, etc. So one would want to understand the local situation much more broadly if you were doing such a study. For other topics, local differences might not be as intensely important. But one should try to understand whether there are significant differences. [80]

I should also say something about the unit of analysis here. In most quantitative research we think of the individual as the unit of analysis and there are opinions and comments and thoughts on an X, Y or Z topic. The speaking subject is centered. Instead, in the qualitative method of GTM, focus is on action, on social action or individual action. And for SA, what I'm asserting is that the whole situation is the proper unit to look at, to examine, at least initially. This does not mean that all such considerations would find their way into your final report. Probably not! But the analytic issue is to have considered it, to see whether X, Y or Z might be interesting and worth pursuing further. Doing so also positions a researcher much more advantageously for question and answer sessions about your research. The more broadly you have thought about what it is you are researching, the more prepared you are. However, even if it were important you might not have chosen to follow through on it because you did something else you thought was more important. But you would have considered it, and that really strengthens your position as a researcher. [81]

Reiner KELLER: Yeah, so it's a lot about reflection ... [82]

Adele CLARKE: Yes ... [83]

Reiner KELLER: ... on what you are doing ... [84]

Adele CLARKE: And reflection on the empirical materials. Especially doing situational maps which can be useful at most stages of the research. Usually not at the very end but at most stages of the research—to reconsider the relations among the elements of the situation once you know more about them. So since the book was published, I have encouraged the making of situational maps at the earliest stages of design. Even at the moment when you are considering whether to even pursue project A or project B, you can do situational maps of the different possible projects. You can see what's interesting, what kinds of data may need to be collected and whether the project engages issues in interesting ways. So the situational maps set you up to think through a project, and to think through the kinds of data needed for that project in advance. And situational maps can lead to better research proposals that can help obtain grant funding for the research. This is really important for American doctoral students who do not necessarily get much financial support. Many do not even get tuition much less a living stipend. The challenge in gaining funding for a qualitative (rather than a quantitative) research project is that you do not know what the outcome is going to be, and yet many grant applications ask you to specify the outcomes! And so you are caught on the horns of an empirical dilemma: you do not have the empirical materials yet but you have specified and initiated exploration of an interesting topic. Having a situational map, and being able to discuss the elements involved, and the kinds of data that would have to be collected about them allows you to make a much more substantial argument regarding specific research goals in a grant proposal. [85]

Reiner KELLER: You just described the unit of analysis in SA and you mentioned that in classical GTM it is about action. How would you describe the unit of analysis in classical GTM more precisely? Does this mean for example an interactional setting in a concrete place or how the situation is constructed in classical GTM? Just to get it clear, the one and the other. [86]

Adele CLARKE: OK. A "classical" GTM study would focus on a topic or area and the researcher would seek out what GTM calls the "basic social process or processes." In STRAUSS' version of GTM, these are the major kinds of action going on in the situation. For example, many years ago a UCSF student studied "Homecoming" (Hall, 1992). It could be a high school homecoming reunion or a college homecoming weekend for alumni many years after graduation. So what are the key processes? They might include remembering, re-encountering, confronting and re-evaluating old selves and former friends, preparing oneself and one's wardrobe, and other things like this. It is action focused around a particular topic and that would be the unit of analysis. That is classic Straussian GTM. [87]

People familiar with STRAUSS and CORBIN's work (in the 1990s) on the conditional matrixes will see that they were trying to broaden the view of action through using these matrices, to specify the conditions and locales under which the action was taking place. I would say they were trying to specify how it was situated. And it was my critique of the inadequacies of their conditional matrices that propelled me into SA. I felt that the conditional matrix was headed in the right analytic direction, but it was too confining, pre-specified and micro/macro in an old-fashioned way. I wanted a broader frame for research that took the interpretive turn into account. That is "the situation." For me, it links to FOUCAULT's "conditions of possibility" in a "field of action." [88]

8. Discourse

Reiner KELLER: In SA discourse becomes central. Why? [89]

Adele CLARKE: To me, discourses are central—fundamental—to social life today, and have increasingly been so for well over a century. This is precisely why FOUCAULT is among the top theorists of the twentieth century—and why his work continues to be so relevant in the twenty-first, and why so many kinds of discourse analysis have been blooming, including your own sociology of knowledge approach to discourse (SKAD), which has lots of common ground with SA (e.g. KELLER, 2010 [2005], 2011, 2012a, 2012b)—very funny, that it has been published in the same year, but several thousand miles and one language away. I see the turn to discourse as a key part of the poststructuralist interpretive turn, in some ways a segue toward post-humanism. The social sciences have sorely needed to go beyond the speaking subject for well over a century. Literacy, newspapers and photography transformed the planet in the nineteenth century, and it was transformed again in the twentieth through television, silicon, the web, social media, etc. We are constantly awash in their seas of discourses—narrative, historical, visual. [90]

However, in the US, very few modes of social science analysis have focused on discourses per se. It is newer disciplinary formations such as communications, cultural studies, and various "X studies" (women's, gender, Asian-American, African-American, etc.) where discourses have been taken very seriously for several decades. This is precisely because of the power of discourses to produce and sustain social formations around race, gender, disability, etc. (OMI & WINANT, 1994). Discourses can have deep histories and life altering consequences. [91]

I placed discourses at the center of SA precisely because of their power. No matter what one is studying today, there are likely to be extensive discursive terrains about it that deserve to be analyzed as part of a serious research project. A very long chapter of SA therefore focuses on "turning to discourse," introducing the complex world of discourse studies to new audiences who I hope will take it up. I begin with an overview of the field, emphasizing approaches that center on producing discursive power/knowledge formations. This form is most frequently taken up in my own specialty of science, technology and medicine studies. Here, and I know in other specialties as well, dissertations and book projects are increasingly multi-sited or multi-scaped, and one of the key sites is the discourses. [92]

The salience of discourses to a particular research topic should become clear in doing the basic situational maps, and doing them at the design stage of research is crucial. Selecting (possibly multiple) sites and scapes to explore and gather data about is a key early step. One of the unique facets of doing situational analyses of discourse(s) is that they may or may not be "aligned" with particular social groups or institutions. Situational maps should specify the discourses that are lively in the situation being studied. The social worlds/arenas maps point to the discourses produced by the different social worlds within the arena(s) under focus. Last, positional mapping analyzes the array of positions taken in the different discourses along particularly important axes of concern. While I cannot elaborate this here, positional maps also allow the analyst to specify discursive positions not taken—missing—in the data. Such sites of silence can be most interesting and important. Last, both integrative and comparative mapping are possible—discourse data can be analyzed together with other data or can be analyzed separately and compared. [93]

The second edition of "Situational Analysis" (CLARKE, FRIESE & WASHBURN, in prep.) will continue to emphasize discourse analyses. Both my co-authors have themselves done stellar discourse analyses (FRIESE, 2009, 2010; WASHBURN, 2013). Recently I was invited to organize a session on critical SA at the 2013 Congress of the International Institute for Qualitative Inquiry, and included reflections on their published discourse analyses by FRENCH and MILLER (2012), GAGNON, JACOB and HOLMES (2010), and PEREZ and CANNELLA (2013). [94]

Reiner KELLER: But as the main feature remains situation—how do discourse and situation relate? [95]

Adele CLARKE: Most directly, in SA, discourses are elements of situations. I cannot imagine a situation about which there is not a discourse somewhere—and usually many—and they are often very important. Social worlds typically produce discourses about themselves. Websites are among the discourses of particular social worlds with which we are vividly familiar today. And of course social worlds produce discourses about other social worlds and about issues in the particular arenas with which they are engaged and in which they are committed to act. Nonhumans—actants—of all kinds are the foci of discourses. On and on and on. [96]

9. Implicated Actants

Reiner KELLER: In "SA," you are introducing "implicated actants" but you are talking of them as socially constructed. LATOUR and friends state that actants exist per se. Why don't you follow his argument? [97]

Adele CLARKE: The concept of "actants" is poached from actor-network theory (ANT), along with the terminology of "nonhuman." The poaching stops there. I began developing the concept of "implicated actors" over twenty years ago (CLARKE & MONTINI, 1993). I sought to conceptualize actors in situations who were not themselves active—agentic—in that situation, but who were implicated by the actions of other actors. In its focus on power differences in the situation, this is very different from Latourian ANT. [98]

Let me discuss how I use "implicated" to frame the analysis of power in situations (see also CLARKE, 2005, pp.46-48). Implicated actors are actors explicitly constructed and/or addressed by a social world and for whom the actions of that world may be highly consequential. But implicated actors are either not actually present in that social world or not allowed to be fully agentic in its actual doings. Implicated actors by and large cannot "speak" and no one asks them questions. They are usually "spoken for" by others—constructed solely in the discourse of that world and often its foci or targets. The actions taken "on behalf of" implicated actors are often supposedly "for their own good." Individuals and social groups with less power in situations tend to be implicated rather than fully agentic actors. Social policy is perhaps the prime example as those affected by most policies are rarely included in their development. [99]

Implicated actants are implicated nonhuman actors in situations. Like humans, implicated actants can be physically and/or discursively present in the situation of inquiry. That is, human actors (individually and/or collectively as social worlds) routinely discursively construct nonhuman actants from those human actors' own perspectives, interpreting their properties and actions in specific situations. The analytic questions here include: What are the distinctive properties and capacities of the actant(s)? Who is discursively constructing what? How and why are they doing so? With what consequences for the actants? [100]

The concept of implicated actors and actants can be particularly useful in the explicit analysis of power in social worlds and arenas. Such analyses are both complicated and enhanced by the fact that there are generally multiple discursive constructions circulating of both the human and nonhuman actors and implicated actors and actants in any given situation. Analyzing power involves analyzing whose constructions of whom/what exist? Who has the power to construct which others uncontested? Which are taken as "the real" constructions or the ones that really "matter" in the situation by the various participants? Which are contested? Whose are ignored? By whom? The concepts of implicated actors and actants point to the power dynamics in a situation, central to doing critical, feminist and other social justice oriented research (e.g., CHARMAZ, 2011; DENZIN & GIARDINA, 2009). [101]

In terms of LATOUR's and others' assertions that actants exist per se, I fully agree! But I take an interpretive view: How and what they are and do in a situation are constructed—interpreted—by others in that situation. To borrow from the "THOMASES" (1970 [1928]), an actant defined as real is real in its consequences. Leigh STAR's (1991) famous paper on being allergic to onions offers a fun entree into these issues. [102]

10. Positional Maps and Mapping: Heuristic Tools

Reiner KELLER: You are introducing "maps," both messy ones and ordered ones: situational maps, social world/arena maps, positional maps. Arguing for "mapping" as a methodological device becomes central in SA. But if I have got it right, such maps are not the definitive "results" of analysis, but useful tools for working through an inquiry. And we can't avoid narratives or narrations to tell what is in the maps. So why are you so strongly insisting on mappings? [103]

Adele CLARKE: Some people adore maps while others are less than entranced. I am among the former and far from alone. I think the three situational mapping strategies (situational, social worlds/arenas and positional maps) each and all allow the analyst to lay out data and to provoke analyses in less dense and more easily understood and easily changed ways than narrative allows. Analytically, one can see more and faster with a good map than a dense narrative. A good map is worth a thousand words! And one can remap to include new data much more easily and see the new analysis more clearly and quickly—and without wholly committing to it. Writing a narrative often engenders a premature termination of analysis, especially among newcomers to qualitative research. [104]

And yes—these maps are modes of analysis of qualitative data. They are not usually analytic products that will appear downstream in publications. However, social worlds and arenas maps may do so, often as a frame for a chapter or paper, broadly situating the narrative (SHOSTAK, 2005). Positional maps have also been the basis of chapters and papers (e.g. CARDER, 2008; FRIESE, 2010; WASHBURN, 2013). [105]

But the maps are mostly ways of opening up the data—intended as working tools rather than representational devices. They do often help the analyst construct a project map distinctive to their own research that is a useful analytic summary for presentations and publications (CLARKE, 2005, pp.136-140; PEREZ & CANNELLA, 2013).3) [106]

Reiner KELLER: One of the maps you are suggesting is a positional map and I think that might be most interesting for people who are reading this. Do you think you can tell me a little bit more about this map because you argue that it is directed to get at the main lines of the discourse arguments? Considering your work on the history of reproductive medicine, it seems to me a really hard work to get at the main lines. So you have this table with the two axes. Please explain! [107]

Adele CLARKE: Any particular project would have multiple positional maps, because what such maps do is take up issues in the discourses of a situation that are contested, controversial, hot or important and help us to look at them very carefully. The example that comes to mind from my reproductive research is about "RU486," often called the French abortion pill. It is a medical abortifacient rather than the usual surgical procedure (dilation and evacuation). Of course, in the United States there have been huge discourses about RU486 because abortion is such a contested issue. The political right has been using abortion as a means of recruiting voters since 1978. In the US today, abortions are only available in about 16 percent of counties, requiring most women to travel long distances, often expensive and inconvenient—especially for women with small children. Because it does not require surgery—merely taking pills—RU486 could make abortion services available in most counties, depending upon the level of medical back up (hospital and specialty physicians) deemed requisite. [108]

So in one example of a positional map around the RU486 situation, the main contested issues are whether RU486 is medically safe and whether it is moral. On this positional map, the X axis would be safety with more safe at one end of the axis and less safe at the other. The Y axis would be moral or immoral. The conditions under which RU486 might be used would be the focus of one map. Say, under conditions of low or high level medical backup availability in case of problems (is there a hospital nearby with a gynecological surgeon on call or not). This very issue was hotly debated when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was asked to approve RU486 for US distribution. [109]

One of the interesting things that positional maps reveal is that a number of different positions can be held by the same individuals or groups or exist in a discourse. So, while you can do these maps where you link the positions to groups, I encourage not doing that. This way if there are different positions within the group, they can be articulated. And the RU486 positional map revealed that abortion advocates held different positions about RU486's safety. Some felt extensive medical backup was requisite while others did not. Of course, abortion opponents, hoping to keep abortion unavailable (even if legal) of course wanted extensive medical backup to be required. This strategy is also being used today to restrict access to all kinds of abortions in many states. [110]

Reiner KELLER: There was an example of a positional map in the book on the care question in hospital nursing work, on "care versus efficiency." [111]

Adele CLARKE: Yes. In this example, a UCSF doctoral sociology student who was a nurse studied the changes in nursing as the paradigm of managed care became predominant—more bureaucratized, technologized modes of organization of hospital care provision. In the 1990s, hospitals became very interested in efficiency and quality of care and documenting them using all kinds of computerized assessment devices. Yet some older nurses who had grown up with forms of nursing centered on providing good care to individual patients, trying to help patients get through what they must endure while in the hospital (which can be quite horrifying), were uncomfortable with these managed care innovations. They felt a considerable tension between caregiving and efficiency. And they felt caught between their own commitments to providing careful and thoughtful care to patients, while the hospital was demanding certain kinds of efficiencies instead. Hardest of all for the nurses was not having enough time to be both efficient and caring. And there are different positions around this in the nursing discourse. Ironically, now we are seeing policy concern about how the absence of good nursing care reduces the effectiveness of some biomedical interventions! [112]

So one of the things that can be very interesting in these maps is when there is a logical position that you can determine by the axes that you have generated, and it is not articulated in the data. Nowhere in the discourse materials (interviews, documents, websites, whatever) was this position stated. In the positional map of the discourse on nursing and clinical efficiency versus caring, it was interesting if expectable that the position was not articulated that neither clinical efficiency nor caring mattered. Such silences may be interesting and important. Very few methods analytically help silences to appear and I really wanted to figure out ways they could be made visible. The positional maps can do such work. This is one of the aspects of SA that I feel proudest about. [113]

Reiner KELLER: So one important part seems to be that that the positional maps are not about looking for some hidden deep structures or things, but focus on the main contested issues or the main proposed things which appear at the surface of the data. [114]

Adele CLARKE: Yes, exactly! These maps derive from the data collected—not seeking hidden structures. The focus instead is on describing the full range of positions taken in the discourse. Interestingly this often involves turning up the volume on quieter voices so that all voices can be heard and represented by the analyst. Thus this strategy goes directly against letting the dominant dominate. Instead, it seeks to reveal all the voices on the issue, however hushed or whispering. I know you will grasp the American pragmatist philosophy and pluralism undergirding this. [115]

So the goal is to do positional maps on all of the important issues and see what you find. Some might turn out to be a waste of time and then you toss them aside. But you will have thought about the issues involved. And the researcher should have quotes in the data for all the positions that you find articulated. And this brings me to say, which I talk about more in the book, that one of the major values of doing GTM analysis is that you approach the data systematically. It is a very thorough form of analysis, word by word, line by line, whatever. In GTM you go through the data as you code, which you should also be doing in SA. The goal here is systematic mapping—map until you cannot map anymore and then try and do things with the maps that are interesting. Every map will not be of interest, just like not every code that you generate in GTM is useful. Most of them drop away. And we can never tell all the stories that our analyses produce, but you should keep mapping until you have gotten to some to what in GTM is called saturation. In terms of data collection, this means that new data are not generating any new ideas theoretically or better examples empirically but just essentially repeating. Saturation in terms of mapping is when it is no longer productive. And sometimes you can think "that's it" and you will go to sleep and wake up with another set of axes that you need to explore for another positional map. But we know that is the iterative and reflexive nature of interpretive qualitative research. [116]

11. Notice This: Different People, Different Outcome!

Reiner KELLER: Just, if I pick up on this part, what happens if you have the same object of research and different persons doing it? I do not know if you have had this experience, working in groups or working with different people on the same data and project? Are there criteria or indicators to judge about good or bad SA? If SA is done by different researcher subjects, would there be different results (of inquiring the "same situation"). And how would they relate? [117]

Adele CLARKE: This is the ultimate moment of interpretation. Different people are going to see a project differently. They are going to see what is interesting in a project differently, and their maps will probably be different also! You know, some will be similar, but others ... The elements should be reasonably alike but what people do with them and what they think are the most important stories to tell in writing up the research, that would not be the same. And people's interpretations would vary. We are interpretive beings. Our interpretations are going to vary, even with the same data. And this is what Anselm sought to provoke with working groups analyzing each other's data. [118]

Reiner KELLER: Yeah, I asked again because I think this is important to insist on ... [119]

Adele CLARKE: Yes, yes. And I keep repeating that the small working groups are incredibly valuable for doing GTM, for doing SA, for doing whatever kind of interpretive qualitative research. Precisely because we think we understand something, and somebody else's take on it will be so different that our mind set gets ruptured. We get cracked open to appreciate new possibilities. There is nothing more productive and more intellectually generative than coming up against those kinds of challenges. And there can be serious challenges. Sometimes they are hard to hear and you do not want to. Sometimes they are exciting. Oh my! I never thought of that! I did not see it that way! It can be thrilling. But you know, it can be all kinds of things. But it is usually not boring. Ultimately, I think the purpose of almost all methodological strategies is to help us think more and better—to provoke us—in certain directions. Good ones work like intellectual alarm clocks— wake up, wake up! Notice this! [120]

In terms of the quality of a SA, along with the usual criteria for good qualitative research, I would hope for ambition in terms of a grasp of the social—the nature and range of collective commitments. Here I mean inclusion of organizational and institutional elements, discourses, etc. I would also hope for ambition in terms of representing complexity and range of variation, taking the nonhuman elements in the situation seriously, and analyzing for implicated actors and actants. [121]

Again, like GTM analyses, I believe situational analyses done by different people would come out differently. In the final stages of research projects, we must make the wrenching decisions about which stories to tell, which parts of the analysis will be foregrounded and which will be backgrounded or left behind. Different people will have varied goals for their research and will make these decisions based on them, often by discipline or specialty. However, I would hope that along the analytic path, there would have been similarities in terms of the analysis of what elements are in the situation, which social worlds and arenas are involved, and what major issues are contested in the discourses among those worlds. Good research practices should produce many rich analytic stories to tell. [122]

12. New (and Older) Feminist Epistemologies

Reiner KELLER: There was one thing you mentioned as important for you and the other people working with you. That is the feminist epistemologies and positions. You mentioned different persons involved in that and in the book you explain how you consider the Straussian framework as being in a certain way open to feminist perspectives, despite his own ignorance. You are quoting Donna HARAWAY, she is very well known all over the world. But you mentioned other thinkers like Patti LATHER, less known in Europe, as being at the top of the movement of feminist methodologies. Could you explain more if and how she differs from HARAWAY? How would you see that? [123]

Adele CLARKE: Well, yes, sure. Donna HARAWAY has her PhD in zoology, with a specialty in embryology. But her career has been in what we call cultural studies and science & technology studies. So she uses the tools of cultural studies and semiotics in STS—to analyze objects related to science and technology. And her emphasis is on the cultural and symbolic and material aspects of these scientific things (like onco-mice, specially bred mice that have cancer; primate research) and their consequences. She is also very philosophical and wrote a paper in 1991 on the sociology of knowledge titled "Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective" (HARAWAY, 1991) which is brilliant still. This paper was one of my main resources in terms of using the concept of situation and situatedness—her work on the situatedness of knowledge. So that is one key feminist heritage of SA. [124]

The other one is Patti LATHER who is at Ohio State in education. She has taught qualitative methods there for decades and is a fully post-structuralist interpretive qualitative methodologist. I actually see her as a theorist of methodology. In 1995, I got to spend three months with her in a larger study group on feminist epistemologies at the University of California Humanities Research Institute. This was just when I was beginning to consider working in this area. I was beginning to have a coherent critique of GTM and wanting more and I read her work and got to know her and we have kept in touch over the years. She has two main books, and one of the best ever articles on validity after post-structuralism, right? It totally questions the possibility of validity. Her two books theorizing the methods are first "Getting Smart: Feminist Research and Pedagogy with/in the Postmodern" (LATHER, 1991), and second, "Getting Lost: Feminist Efforts Toward a Double(d) Science" (LATHER, 2007), which reflects post-structuralism even more. She argues that the best you can do in terms of figuring out methods and methodological issues and data is to just get lost and see what happens. Be open. I think her project as a scholar teaching research is fundamentally to try and help people to think and to see and to know in different ways and do various kinds of things towards understanding more and better. And to read and grapple with interesting post-structural theories. [125]

In between those two books, Patti co-authored an empirical book, "Troubling the Angels: Women Living with HIV/AIDS" (LATHER & SMITHIES, 1997). She had a draft of it when we were at this seminar in 1995 because the draft was to circulate back to the women they worked with in what we call "respondent validation" or "member-checking" or whatever. You take the results of your research back to the people whom you have researched for their comments and criticism. What that book did was study women totally opening their lives to a group of other women also diagnosed with HIV/AIDS who lived in Ohio. They were support groups for the women. The co-author was the psychologist who was leading the group and Patti was there. It was a remarkable in-depth engagement for Patti with a topic outside of her field of education, and important to opening up her own thinking. So, whenever I want to think about methods, I try to read a little LATHER in the morning because it just cracks open things and I cannot stay the same that day. I have to move somehow, you know. She is also very erudite. So I end up reading some social theory too. She has traveled a lot professionally in Northern Europe, Ireland, Britain, Scandinavia and also in Australia and New Zealand. So in English speaking countries but not in German. And largely in feminist methods and/or education settings. She deserves a much wider audience. [126]

Reiner KELLER: You talked about HARAWAY's situated knowledge and here it is about getting smart and getting lost ... [127]

Adele CLARKE: ... and really how do you take post-structuralism and methodology and have them speak to each other? Because there are ways in which you could argue that post-structuralism makes methodology impossible. And people do say this but Patti's answer which provoked me to work on methods, was "If I don't do it ..., somebody else will."4) And they won't do it the way I think it should be done! So what brought Patti and me to methods work are the questions: Who is going to be doing what kinds of research? What will be out there if we do not figure out strategies for research that have the kind of post-structural politics that we think are worthwhile and needed—desperately needed. That is, putting forward something along these lines is better than not doing so. And it is certainly better than the alternatives which are usually so normative and so narrowing and so unrecognizing of complexity and ultimately so elitist. [128]

Reiner KELLER: I think this is a very important point because it has been said very often: after post-structuralism, no more social research, no more clear good data ... [129]

Adele CLARKE: Yeah and I think that is certainly an excuse I saw among some sociologists in the US and England (I do not know about elsewhere) for dismissing post-structural thinking. I saw it as fear and intellectual laziness. And it may also be out of the sense of privilege that these sociologists have that they would be displaced by poststructuralism. Wouldn't that be lovely! [130]

13. Engagements of Situational Analysis

Reiner KELLER: Before we stop, please let's talk about qualitative research and "engagement." Social science has to account for its analysis. Sometimes this might be in conflict with more political orientations in sociology—I am thinking of Norman DENZIN and others. How would you relate emancipatory issues and qualitative research? [131]

Adele CLARKE: I personally see no space outside of politics of some kind. Things can be more or less implicitly or explicitly engaged. Even quantitative projects intended to provide baseline data about something have epistemological and ontological positions "built in." Classification, standardization and infrastructures are today in STS understood as clearly political (BOWKER & STAR, 1999; LAMPLAND & STAR, 2009), however much they may claim neutrality (e.g., DEAN, 2010). Max WEBER (2004 [1918]) famously argued that politics should enter research at the site of problem choice and then somehow fade away. Most qualitative research is committed to representing the voices of those with whom we speak or engage "fairly"—in ways they themselves would recognize and generally agree with. By representing range of variation well, qualitative research also often gives voice to the silenced and amplifies the voices of those with less power or authority in situations. Many many years ago Howie BECKER (1970 [1967]) wrote about this as "Whose Side Are You On?" discussing how merely choosing to study something can be viewed as taking sides. So too is fully articulating non-dominant positions. [132]

GTM in its deep commitment to empiricism and "staying true to the data" sustains these openings and thus is radically democratic and downright pluralist. Given its pragmatist historical roots (STRÜBING, 2007), we can see it as very American in these ways, at least the kind of America John DEWEY dreamed of our producing through education and civic engagement. STRAUSS and GLASER also created space for analytic openness in the small working analysis groups which they led, another mode of "opening" that can be quite uncomfortable. Leigh STAR and I saw these as ways in which GTM was always already feminist, as analysis groups can be viewed as paralleling feminist consciousness-raising groups in their openness to alternative interpretations (CLARKE, 2006, 2012b; STAR, 2007). [133]

In Situational Analysis, I have tried to build on these "openings," these democratizing analytic and representational moves in GTM, in several ways. Situational maps are intended to be as inclusive as possible, specifying what is in the situation—whether or not issues are supposed to be "on the table." Such maps can and should reveal any and all "elephants in the room"! Social worlds and arenas analysis often represents smaller worlds contesting larger more powerful ones in a particular arena. And positional maps reveal the full range of positions articulated in the data—not only the "major(ity)" ones. As BECKER (1970 [1967]) noted, we can thereby be accused of supporting the "underdog." And to me there is a deeper political issue here as well—an issue that challenges aspects of both FOUCAULT and ANT: If you always follow the site(s) or line(s) of power that will be most or all you see. Or at least, that will be all you see well. In sharp contrast, SA tries to open the situation so all the actors, actants, positions, discourses, and counter-discourses can been seen more fully. Representing complexity is crucial—and it is usually seen as inherently political. [134]

14. Exemplary Work

Reiner KELLER: Just in conclusion—or opening up, as you like—could you give us some reference to studies using SA? [135]

Adele CLARKE: This final question offers me the opportunity to say how deeply honored and thrilled I am that "Situational Analysis" has been translated into German. Through both qualitative research and science and technology studies, I have visited Germany and Austria a number of times as a scholar and have been impressed by the seriousness with which methodology is taken. There has been long standing interest in Germany in STRAUSS's work including social worlds theory and trajectories (e.g. GRATHOFF, 1991; SCHÜTZE, 2008; SOEFFNER, 1991). [136]

Recently, SA has been taken up in an interesting study of "preventive selves" interacting with telemonitoring devices as actants by Tom MATHAR (2009), who also reviewed my book for FQS (MATHAR, 2008). Helen KOHLEN's (2009) most interesting "Conflicts of Care: Hospital Ethics Committees in the USA and Germany" has a relational analysis focus. The second edition of the SA book will have a Companion Website sponsored by SAGE offering a selection of downloadable PDFs of publications using SA along with an array of other resources. Kathy CHARMAZ and I (CLARKE & CHARMAZ, 2014) recently co-edited four volumes of previously published works: "Grounded Theory and Situational Analysis." An entire volume offers exemplars of SA research. Listings of works using SA are also on the website (see below), and peppered throughout this interview. And last, not least: Thank you, Reiner, for this lovely opportunity to talk about SA. [137]

Appendix: Situational Analysis Websites

http://www.situationalanalysis.com/: Website maintained by Adele E. CLARKE, with lists of publications and dissertations using SA; CLARKE's publications on research methods; a searchable and downloadable bibliography from the book "Situational Analysis" (Sage, 2005), and other resources.

http://www.qualitative-forschung.de/methodentreffen/archiv/video/closinglecture_2011/: Video of a talk given in English by Adele CLARKE at the Berliner Methodentreffen in 2011. Introduction in German by Prof. Dr. Reiner KELLER (University of Augsburg) who arranged for the German translation of "Situational Analysis." CLARKE's slides are in English.

http://sts.ucdavis.edu/summer-workshop/retreat-2008: Website offers a PDF file of Adele CLARKE's first paper on SA: "Situational Analyses: Grounded Theory After the Postmodern Turn." In Symbolic Interaction, 26(4), 553-576.

http://dne2.ucsf.edu/public/anselmstrauss/social-worlds.html: This is the website for Anselm STRAUSS's work, including a list of his publications on social worlds theory and two articles about it.

http://www.researchgate.net/post/What_are_some_examples_of_applying_the_situational_analysis_approach_to_grounded_theory_in_health_care_research: Video of Bryce R. CASSIN (University of Western Sydney) answering the question in the site name.

http://www.lcoastpress.com/book.php?id=149: Site offers the introduction to the BANFF Symposium and the first article by Jan MORSE "Tussles, Tensions and Resolutions," and a "Dialog on Doing Grounded Theory" among all the authors (MORSE et al., 2009).


1) A shorter German version of the interview has been published (CLARKE & KELLER, 2011). <back>

2) The full bibliography of them and some more esoteric papers are available on the STRAUSS website: http://dne2.ucsf.edu/public/anselmstrauss/social-worlds.html [Accessed: May 9, 2014]. <back>

3) Project maps will get more attention in the second edition. See also the list of works using SA at http://www.situationalanalysis.com/ which are organized by the main mapping strategy used [Accessed: May 9, 2014]. <back>

4) The quote is from a song by New Orleans' blues man, Dr. JOHN. <back>


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Adele E. CLARKE is Professor Emerita of Sociology and Adjunct Professor Emerita of History of Health Sciences at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She grew up in New York, received a B.A. in sociology in 1966 from Barnard College and an MA in sociology in 1970 from New York University. She then taught women's studies at Sonoma State University (CA). In 1980, she selected the sociology program at the University of California, San Francisco for her PhD. She worked there with Anselm STRAUSS and Virginia OLESEN, among others, and returned to UCSF as an Assistant Professor in 1989 after a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University. She was tenured in 1992 and promoted to Full Professor in 1998. Her research centers on social, cultural and historical studies of science, technology and medicine with emphases on biomedicalization and common medical technologies for women such as contraception and the Pap smear.


Adele E. Clarke

Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences
University of California, San Francisco
3333 California Street, LHts-455
San Francisco, CA 94143-0612

Office Phone: +1 415-476-0694
Office Fax: +1 415-476-6552

E-mail: adele.clarke@ucsf.edu
URL: http://nursing.ucsf.edu/faculty/adele-clarke


Reiner KELLER, born in 1962 near Saarbrücken (Germany), studied sociology at the universities of Saarbrücken, Rennes (France) and Bamberg and was awarded his Diplom in 1988. He received a PhD in sociology in 1997 on "Müll. Die gesellschaftliche Konstruktion des Wertvollen. Die öffentliche Diskussion über Abfall in Deutschland und Frankreich" [Garbage. The Social Construction of Value. Public Discourses on Household Waste in Germany and France] (Munich, Technical University), and accomplished his habilitation in 2004 on "Wissenssoziologische Diskursanalyse. Grundlegung eines Forschungsprogramms" [The Sociology of Knowledge Approach to Discourse. A Research Program"] (Augsburg University). From October 2006 to September 2011 he was full professor of sociology at Koblenz-Landau University. Since October 2011, he is professor of sociology at Augsburg University. Currently, he is a Fellow at the Jakob-Fugger Center for Transnational Research, Augsburg University, and chair of the Sociology of Knowledge Section, German Sociological Association. His research centers on sociology of knowledge and culture, discourse studies, sociological theory, qualitative methods, risk and environment, and French sociology.


Prof. Dr. Reiner Keller

Lehrstuhl für Soziologie
Universität Augsburg
D-86135 Augsburg

Office Phone: +49 (0)821 - 598 4095
Office Fax: + 49 (0)821 - 598 4018

E-mail: reiner.keller@phil.uni-augsburg.de
URL: http://www.philso.uniaugsburg.de/lehrstuehle/soziologie/sozio6/ and (English webpage for interests in SKAD) http://kellersskad.blogspot.de/p/blog-page.html


Clarke, Adele E. & Keller, Reiner (2014). Engaging Complexities: Working Against Simplification as an Agenda for Qualitative Research Today. Adele Clarke in Conversation With Reiner Keller [137 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 15(2), Art. 1,

Copyright (c) 2014 Adele E. Clarke, Reiner Keller

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