In his previous book, Contemporary Hermeneutics, Josef Bleicher offered an introduction to the subject, locating it mainly within the philosophy of social science, and looking at the profound impact it is having on a wide range of intellectual pursuits. This book follows on from this and expounds the author's view that the development of the hermeneutic imagination is an indispensable condition for reflexive sociological work and emancipatory social practice.
Dr Bleicher examines the various approaches to sociology – empiricist, functionalist, structuralist, interpretive, critical – by reference to a hermeneutic paradigm, and shows how the hermeneutic imagination leads to a redirection in sociology, away from scientistic presuppositions and towards an awareness of the dialogue which links the subject and object in the study of social phenomena. He argues that by allowing the hermeneutic imagination to develop, it is possible to counter the steering of social processes on the basis of technocratic imperatives, and to provide a rational anticipation of a better future.
1. Scientism and Hermeneutics: Two Claims to Universality 2. The Rise of a Science of Society and its Normative Presuppositions 3. The Development of a Non-Scientistic Sociology in the Context of the Geisteswissenschaften and Idealist Philosophy 4. Towards a Hermeneutic Paradigm for Sociology 5. Objective Interpretation in Macro-Sociology and the Hermeneutic Dimension 6. The Dilemma of Interpretive Sociology 7. Between Interpretive and Hermeneutic Sociology: The Case of Ethnomethodology 8. Elements of a Hermeneutic Sociology 9. Conclusion: Between and Beyond Idealism and Reification – Towards a Hermeneutic-Dialectical Sociology