In several branches of social science, interest in values and moral evaluations has increased in recent years, with group values taking centre-stage, yet a satisfactory, theoretical account of the concept of values and their role in social life remains lacking. Engaging with theories of value formation and the role of values in everyday life found in ethics, classical sociology and contemporary social theory and their implications for empirical work, Researching Values with Qualitative Methods argues for a pragmatist approach both to understanding values and the manner in which they are formed, as well as exploring the ways in which they can be studied empirically, using qualitative research methods. In this way, this book promises to resolve many of the practical problems involved in fieldwork with political groups, including the prominent question of how to account for the researcher's own values. Illustrated with examples from published as well as new research, this book provides the foundation for the theoretical understanding of values and their empirical investigation, thus strengthening the connection between social theory and the development of research methods. As such, it will be of interest to sociologists, anthropologists and geographers with interests in values, social theory and research methodology.
Antje Bednarek-Gilland is Research Fellow at The Social Sciences Institute of the Evangelical Church in Germany.
’In the social sciences today there is an undeniable gap between theoretical debate and empirical research on values, their genesis and change. Based on intense experience in fieldwork and on pragmatist social thought, this well-written book is of great help for all who are trying to bridge that gap and make the social sciences more ethical again.’ Hans Joas, Humboldt University, Berlin, and University of Chicago, USA ’This accessible text provides a guide for comprehending the resurgence of interest in values amongst qualitative scholars, outlining the benefits of comprehending social life and behaviour in relation to values, and most significantly provides invaluable insights and practical strategies for how this analysis can be undertaken.’ Brad West, University of South Australia, Australia ’Much more than a book on research methods, this is a consistently thoughtful and engaging reflection on the nature of values in society and in social research and how we might understand them, and a powerful critique of existing approaches. I would recommend it to anyone doing social research.’ Andrew Sayer, Lancaster University, UK