Stupid theoretical framework question? Maybe!


Hello everyone!

I know this is stupid but I keep struggling and struggling with it!

My theoretical framework is social constructionism. I have understood it and everything is OK (?).
BUT I find it really difficult to distinguish SC and post-modernism.....
I feel really stupid, when my sups ask me about the theoretical framework of papers and books.....

Is there any "easy" way to clarify them????


That's like trying to compare apples and oranges! Social constructionism is merely the obvious issue of most of what we learn, think and do is in response to our dealings with others, so almost everything is a social construct. I say almost because my specialist subject was autism, and that's the case that breaks some social construction rules, or appears to, as the thinking and learning and doing can be sensory in response to the physical world. Post Modernism however, is what it says on the tin. It comes after Modernism as a philosophy. Modernism was all about making meta narratives to explain human angst when the world appears chaotic - hence Neitzsche, Freud, Marx etc. Post Modernism is kind of laid back and cool about angst. It's about how "Hey buddy, everything copies everything else" (Baudrillard), "I'm copying Neitzche because he was right about power" (Foucault), "I'm copying Freud because he was right on" (Lacan), "I'm kind of copying Marx, even though I don't like him any more, because knowledge has become reduced to performativity by computers and is a saleable item," (Lyotard), "I beg to defer (differ) as meaning is always deferred if we deconstruct it. It's all text." (Derrida) That's about it - no meta narratives no more. Sad, innit?


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Yes, there is an easy way. And you should not feel stupid when your sups ask because the differfences between various paradigms can be subtle and some can seem to overlap. Not only that, but many people write from a less than clear statement of their paradigms, or might even be wholly unconcious of what paradigm they write from ( or that there is even such an academic concept as paradigm). If the writer is not clear about where they are coming from, or what their framework is, all the more difficult for the reader to discern.

I find the charts in the Lincoln and Guba book Sage Handbook on Qualitative Research very helpful. It gives a concise discussion of what each paradigm consists of and how they are the same in some respects and where they differ. Post modernism and SC are both non-positivist in orientation and so will share many features in some respects, but differ in others.

I do not have the Lincoln and Guba book handy so cannot make reference to the exact page numbers. Someone on here might be able to help; otherwise if you can get access to the book ( any library should have it) they are easy to find. I hope that helps.