Communicative Knowledge and Multi-Level-Analysis. Ideas on the Relation Between Discourses and (Social) Milieus Based on Empirical Data.

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 18 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Steffen AMLING, Universität Hamburg, Germany
Zuhal KAVACIK, Universität Hamburg, Germany
Alexander GEIMER, Universität Hamburg, Germany
In German qualitative social research different perspectives of combining research methods are being discussed recently (Kelle 2008; Flick 2011). However, studies applying a comprehensive approach to multi-level-analysis are still rare (cf. Helsper et al. 2010; Nohl 2013). Within this context, Helsper et al. (2010) stress the importance of conceptualizing the different social levels and the systematic relations between them.

Following these considerations, the purpose of the presentation is twofold: First of all, it presents thoughts on how to conceptualize the relation between the meso-level of social milieus (Bremer/Lange-Vester 2014) and the macro-level of social discourses (Keller 2011; Diaz-Bone 2005). The main argument here (following Bohnsack 2014 and Geimer 2012) is that it is important to take a differentiation of categories into account. The so called ”implicit knowledge“ (Loenhoff 2012) is therefore considered, on the one hand, as a collective and embodied form of knowledge, which guides action (cf. Bourdieu`s "sens pratique", Bourdieu 1992); on the other hand, as a collective knowledge that takes the form of an interrelated system of statements that implies norms (cf. Goffman`s "identity norms", Goffman 1963). Referring to the terms of Mannheim, the latter can be considered a ”communicative“ (Mannheim 1980|1922), the first a ”conjunctive knowledge“ (ibd.).

Second, empirical material from a current research project on occupational careers of politicians and artists (Geimer 2013) will be provided. The study focuses on the question in how far the interviewees in their answers relate to anything like “an identity norm of authenticity” (Geimer 2014). We will show that the very same material can be analyzed either with regard to the milieu-related and the discourse-related implicit knowledge. This will be discussed in regard to the question of a multiple contextualization of single cases (Nohl 2013) that allows for an insight into the relations between the two levels.