Review: Andreas Wernet (2000). Einführung in die Interpretationstechnik der Objektiven Hermeneutik [Introduction to Interpretation Techniques of Objective Hermeneutics]

Susanne Friese


In this small book, WERNET presents both the theoretical background of Objective Hermeneutics and the practical details of how to use the method. The emphasis throughout is on the description of the technical aspects of this sequential method of text interpretation. The most important theoretical concepts and assumptions are explained in the first third of the book, Chapters 1 and 2. In the remaining 60 pages, WERNET applies the principles of the method by the use of examples. Understanding is greatly facilitated by this way of structuring the book. Even though the examples in the later chapters are easier to read, I would not advise skipping the earlier theoretical part, as important aspects would be missed. The chapters of the book build upon each other and jumping between sections is only advisable after one has read the book cover to cover at least once. The theoretical introduction is followed in chapter 3 by an explanation and application of the most essential technique in objective hermeneutics, the "three-stages" of: telling stories, building readings, and reconstructing a case structure. In chapter 4 a full interpretation or case reconstruction is presented, exemplified by data from an interview with a teacher. In the last five pages of the book, all principles and rules of the method are presented in a condensed format. WERNET's target group is researchers who want to learn more about the method in general and those who plan to choose it as an interpretive tool for their own work. The book succeeds in providing the interested beginner with a good insight into objective hermeneutics, its theoretical underpinning and techniques. Once more experience has been gained, the book is likely to continue to serve as a point of reference. Whether WERNET's introduction also convinces the reader of the method's merits is a matter of personal decision. WERNET does provide answers to a number of issues that have been raised previously. One issue, however, remains unresolved: the stated claim that only when applying the rigorous interpretive techniques of objective hermeneutics is it possible to present social reality adequately. In parts 3 and 4 of this review, I refute (or at least try to refute) this claim by measuring objective-hermeneutics against its own standards and rules.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs030248


Objective Hermeneutics; principles of objective hermeneutics; biographical-interpretive narrative method; structural reconstruction of life stories; generating stories; sequential analysis; generalization; text interpretation

Copyright (c) 2003 Susanne Friese

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