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The Retroductive Cycle: The Research Process in Poststructuralist Discourse Analysis

Glynos, Jason and Howarth, David (2019) 'The Retroductive Cycle: The Research Process in Poststructuralist Discourse Analysis.' In: Marttila, Tomas, (ed.) Discourse, Culture and Organization: Inquiries into Relational Structures of Power. Postdisciplinary Studies in Discourse . Palgrave MacMillan, 105 - 125. ISBN 9783319941226

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In this chapter we suggest that an appeal to retroductive reasoning as a form of explanation distinct from induction and deduction can help frame the strategic and methodological issues of any research that takes seriously an anti-essentialist ontology rooted in poststructuralist discourse theory. Anti-essentialism captures the view that societies and social agents – indeed, history itself – do not contain essences – invariable and fixed properties of an object - that can be rationally extracted and used to characterize social phenomena. At the same time, although prominent in debates over how best to understand the production of theories and hypotheses in the natural sciences, we also argue that the concept of retroduction is relevant to a set of debates in the philosophy of social science. More precisely, it offers theoretical resources to develop a post-positivist picture of the study of social and political phenomena, thus furnishing important elements of a feasible and critical research strategy. We draw on arguments associated with a poststructuralist discourse-theoretical approach to social and political research to justify adopting the idea of a retroductive ‘cycle’. A retroductive understanding of the relationship between key elements of the social science research process offers us a useful way to think about research strategy and methodology from the point of view of post-positivism, including approaches informed by poststructuralist discourse theory

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Retroduction, Post-positivism, Anti-essentialism, Poststructuralist discourse analysis
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2019 11:20
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2020 01:00

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