Interpretation in Social Life, Social Science, and Marketing

By John O'Shaughnessy

© 2009 – Routledge

228 pages

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Paperback: 9781138992573
pub: 2016-06-30
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Hardback: 9780415777582
pub: 2009-04-06
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About the Book

'Interpretation' is used as an umbrella for bringing together a wide range of concepts and developments in the philosophy of social science that provide the foundation for clear thinking about social phenomena. In his new book, John O’Shaughnessy familiarises the reader with the nature of interpretation and its importance in social life, decision making in social science enquiries and consumer marketing, thus offering a multidisciplinary approach to problems of bias and uncertainty.

Thus, this book is novel in its outlook and comprehensive in its approach. Whereas past studies in interpretation have focused on hermeneutical methods, O’Shaughnessy goes further considering the role of interpretation in social interactions, in undertaking scientific work, in the use of statistics, in causal analysis, in consumer evaluations of products and artifacts and in interpreting problematic situations together with the corresponding biases arising from emotional happiness and the concepts employed.


"Finally an authoritative book that places marketing research firmly within a comprehensive social science framework by recognising the centrality of social relationships and the dynamics of the inter-personal, of perspective, and of meaning-making in a phenomenal world. Professor O’Shaughnessy draws the topic into a rich applied focus and careful reading of this book will reward by inspiring and catalysing valuable research in the field, thus opening the minds of students and researchers alike"

Dr Richard J Varey, Professor of Marketing at The Waikato Management School, New Zealand

Table of Contents

Preface. 1. Interpretation and Methodology. 2. Interpretation and Perspectivism. 3. The Interpretive Stance in the Study of Human Behavior. 4. Interpretation and Concepts. 5. Interpretation of Effects (Causes). 6. Interpretation of a Problematic Situation (Abduction). 7. Interpretation of Words, Symbols and Behavior (Text Hermeneutics). 8. Artifact Interpretation. Notes. Index.

About the Author

John O'Shaughnessy is Professor Emeritus at the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University and formerly Senior Associate at the Judge Institute, Cambridge University and is the author or co-author of fourteen books on business topics, including Persuastion in Advertising and The Undermining of Beliefs in the Autonomy and Rationality of Consumers, also published by Routledge.

About the Series

Routledge Interpretive Marketing Research

Recent years have witnessed an ‘interpretive turn’ in marketing and consumer research. Methodologies from the humanities are taking their place alongside those drawn from the traditional social sciences. Qualitative and literary modes of marketing discourse are growing in popularity. Art and aesthetics are increasingly firing the marketing imagination. This series brings together the most innovative work in the burgeoning interpretive marketing research tradition. It ranges across the methodological spectrum from grounded theory to personal introspection, covering all aspects of the postmodern marketing ‘mix’, from advertising to product development, and embracing marketing’s principal sub-disciplines.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Marketing / General
PSYCHOLOGY / Social Psychology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Methodology