Review Essay: Making a Mess with Situational Analysis?


  • Tom Mathar Humboldt University Berlin



situational analysis, grounded theory, multiple social processes, postmodernism, pragmatism, post-essentialism, relational analysis


Adele CLARKE, a student of grounded theory co-founder Anselm STRAUSS, uses situational analysis to develop both a methodology and a method which is able to represent the field's messiness, i.e., its heterogeneous and complex character. Grounded theory, CLARKE's starting point, is stuck in a modernist world-view, particularly by looking too much for a pure and oversimplified "basic social process". In order to make grounded theory post-modern, CLARKE considers discourses that are beyond pragmatism, e.g., those initiated by FOUCAULT, LATOUR, HARAWAY. This review essay argues that even though there remain some uncertainties in engaging in this epistemological hybrid, situational analysis provides a very good instrument for researchers to come into their material more deeply and, therefore, is a convincing tool for practice-oriented social science working with qualitative methods. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs080244


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Author Biography

Tom Mathar, Humboldt University Berlin

Tom MATHAR is a PhD-student in the Research Cluster: Preventive Self funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) partly based at the Dept. of European Ethnology at Humboldt University in Berlin. His specific interest is on telemedical solutions for patients with chronic heart failure.




How to Cite

Mathar, T. (2008). Review Essay: Making a Mess with Situational Analysis?. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 9(2).