Engaging Complexities: Working Against Simplification as an Agenda for Qualitative Research Today. Adele Clarke in Conversation With Reiner Keller


  • Adele E. Clarke University of California
  • Reiner Keller Universität Augsburg




grounded theory methodology, discourse, symbolic interactionism, science studies, epistemology, social world, mapping, situational analysis, Strauss, Foucault


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.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs140212


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Adele E. Clarke, University of California

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.

Reiner Keller, Universität Augsburg

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.




How to Cite

Clarke, A. E., & Keller, R. (2014). Engaging Complexities: Working Against Simplification as an Agenda for Qualitative Research Today. Adele Clarke in Conversation With Reiner Keller. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 15(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-15.2.2186



FQS Interviews

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>