"Method's Yoke": Adorno's Self-Conception as a Social Scientist and his Contribution to Qualitative Research. Two Letters from the Early Days of the "Princeton Radio Research Project"

  • Matthias Jung Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/Main
Keywords: Adorno, Lazarsfeld, critical theory, Princeton Radio Research Project, sociology of music


Whether or to what extent ADORNO can be regarded as a pioneer of qualitative research is discussed using two of his letters to Paul LAZARSFELD from 1938, when he began participating in the latter's "Radio Research Project" at Princeton University. In the course of the project ADORNO for the first time had to adjust to the dispositions of empirical research in the US. Due to his lack of first hand experience in this field, he had to rely on his skills as a philosopher and artist. In his correspondence with LAZARSFELD, ADORNO developed concepts that would later achieve canonical status in his writings on social research after the Second World War. By criticising quantifying methods, he naturally designed a model of qualitative research. The model nevertheless was subject to specific restrictions mainly because of ADORNO's sustained reservations regarding methodically regulated approaches in general.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs130394


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Author Biography

Matthias Jung, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/Main

Matthias JUNG, PD Dr. phil., Soziologe, Privatdozent an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. Arbeitsschwerpunkte: qualitative Methoden, Familiensoziologie, Mediensoziologie, Arbeitsmarktforschung, Hermeneutik materieller Kultur, Sozialstrukturen vormoderner Gesellschaften.

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