Welcome to the Interpretive Methodologies and Methods (IMM) Webpage

A message to current members of the American Political Science Association: APSA has changed its rules for related groups such as IMM. To maintain our related group status, at least 35 active APSA members need to join IMM. There is no extra cost (beyond the the cost of APSA membership) to formally join IMM, so please consider doing so. Here is the link. Thanks!

IMM provides a forum for the discussion of methodologies and methods related to empirical interpretive research, as well as issues arising from their location within contemporary political science.

Interpretive methodologies and methods are informed by philosophical traditions such as hermeneutics, phenomenology, pragmatism, symbolic interaction, and critical theory. Notwithstanding their differences, these traditions presuppose that the meaningfulness and historical contingency of human life sets the social realm apart from the natural and physical worlds, when it comes to research. Although diverse in their modes of generating and analyzing data, research processes in the interpretive tradition are typically characterized by an empirical and normative prioritizing of the lived experience of people in research settings, including the documentary and visual tracings and heritage of these (what Clifford Geertz referred to as “experience-near” research), a focus on the meaning(s) of acts, events, interactions, language, and physical artifacts to multiple stakeholders, and a sensitivity to the historically contingent, often contested character of such meanings.

The IMM officers are listed on the People page. The IMM Spotlight Scholars page showcases the work of interpretivist researchers. Other pages contain APSA conference-related announcements, including the archive of annual IMM @ APSA Calls for Papers, conference program listings, business meeting agendas, Short Course listings, and awards made by the group. Below is a link to a history of how the group came into existence.

The IMM group is international in its reach, and the webpage extends beyond APSA to include course syllabi, research and resources, other IMM-related notices, and job opportunities.

To read about the origins and development of IMM, please see: IMM Beginnings (pdf).

To join our Facebook group (open to anyone), just click “Join Group” and tell us a little about yourself.

You can also follow us on Twitter.

What’s new: IMM will now be showcasing the work of early-career scholars doing innovative work within the interpretive tradition. Our most recent Spotlight Scholar is Yuna Blajer de la Garza, a political theorist studying inequalities and oppression in democratic societies by focusing on the interactions between formal political institutions, the ideals that undergird them, and everyday practices and norms. You can read more about Dr. Blajer de la Garza on our Spotlight Scholar page and her homepage.

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