This is a guest response to Simon Frankel Pratt’s musing on methods. Lucas Dolan is a PhD Candidate at American University’s School of International Service.
In a recent contribution, Simon Frankel Pratt offers an incisive conceptual dismantling of the quantitative v. qualitative dichotomy in social science research. Pratt points out that while “quantitative’ refers to a clear community of practice centered around statistically facilitated inductive causal inference, “qualitative” lumps together several distinctive research communities. Though not all named in the post, this implicitly includes interpretivists, relational and practice turn scholars, feminists, and critical theorists of all varieties. Importantly, “qualitative” also includes small-N positivists, who share a logic of inquiry with “quantitative,” but prefer to express their knowledge claims through ordinary language. Clearly then, “qualitative” research communities differ substantially from one another in terms of scientific ontology and in the logics of inquiry they utilize, but nonetheless many of them share certain affinities as a result of being outsiders in the field.
I agree wholeheartedly with Pratt’s analyses—both regarding the incoherence of the dichotomy and of the work it performs as an expression of disciplinary power relations. It is because of this that I was so confused by Pratt’s conclusion on the “what is to be done?” side of this question.
The Punjab Assembly displays a sophisticated view of ontology. Or it just makes your head hurt.
Ostrich, a heavy flightless bird of African origin, was officially declared ‘an animal’ on Wednesday when Punjab Assembly passed a bill overruling the objections raised by the Punjab governor who had refused to sign it, saying, it was a ‘bird’ covered under the definition of exotic species not native to Pakistan.
This move isn’t quite as weird in the context of relevant statutes. And it definitely has Foucaultian resonances.
“As the Ostrich comes under the definition of exotic animal, being wildlife species not native to Pakistan and not included in the Second Schedule, there fore, the same cannot be imported”, the PPP legislator told the House taking clue from the objections raised by the governor who had noted that “Inclusion of Ostrich in the category of permissible animals to be slaughtered under the proposed amendment shall be anomalous without prior amendment in sections 2(ccc) and 14(1) of the Punjab Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Act, 1974”.
…. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sana preferred not to go into the legality of farming and slaughtering of Ostrich in Pakistan. Instead, he confined himself to saying that Punjab government had included Ostrich in the category of animals like goats and sheep to meet the increasing demand for meat in the province. He argued that farming and sale of Ostrich’s meat was in vogue across the world which was also good for human consumption.
Still, for those who remain confused, some clarification might be a good idea. HTH:
|Relationship between the Category “Animals” and the Category “Birds”
(via Chris Fair)
…taken to egregious extremes by CNN.
Unfortunately, the really crazy talk doesn’t start until after the video:
COOPER: It’s interesting. I’m not sure I buy it exactly. But these folks at this company, what do they say, that people vote the way their brain thinks, or they vote the way — what they say they think?
KAYE: In the end, the folks at Lucid, Anderson, say that the brain will actually win out, because people react before they actually feel. And the isolation of the voting booth, they’ll have more time to feel. And they’ll go with what the brain actually wants.
Our very own PTJ might have something to say about this (Download the PDF from the table of contents).