Sociology Index


Interpretive theory is a general category of theory including symbolic interactionism, labeling, ethnomethodology, phenomenological sociology and social construction of reality. The Interpretive Theory is also called “interpretative approach” or “theory of sense.” Interpretative sociology is the study of society that concentrates on the meanings people associate to their social world. Within interpretive sociology, symbolic interactionism is a theory that uses everyday interactions of individuals to explain society as a whole. Interpretive theory is more accepting of free will and sees human behavior as the outcome of the subjective interpretation of the environment. Interpretive theory focuses on the actor's definition of the situation in which they act.

Interpretive theory is typically contrasted with structural theories which claim to remove the subjectivity of the actor and the researcher and assume that human behavior can best be understood as determined by the pushes and pulls of structural forces. Interpretive theory seeks reciprocal inter-subjective understanding of subjects. Max Weber consolidated and developed a rich mass of interpretive theory of religion in his volumes on Judaism, Christianity,swiss replica watches the Protestant Ethic, Confucianism, Hinduism and Islam.


Interpretive theory research is fundamentally concerned with meaning and it seeks to understand social members' definition of a situation - Schwandt. Interpretive theory involves building a second order theory or theory of members' theories - Alfred Schutz.

The arrival of interpretivism, previously dominated by positivism and natural law theories about the nature of law, has stimulated a great deal. - Stavropoulos, Nicos in "Interpretivist Theories of Law". Intersubjectivity is the process of knowing others' minds and the question of intersubjectivity, how we know others minds, has been a longstanding challenge in philosophy (Schutz, 1973). Intersubjectivity occurs through language, social interaction, and written texts. A key form of interpretive research is social construction of reality which seeks to understand the social construction dialectic involving objective, intersubjective and subjective knowledge.

Application of the Interpretive Theory of Translation in Interpreting Practice - KANG Qiang. Abstract: This paper makes a research on Application of the Interpretive Theory of Translation in Interpreting Practice and reviews the major developing condition and applications of interpreting studies throughout its history. Since the establishment of the 1980s, with the gradual improvement of the theoretical framework and unique theory angle of view, Interpretive Theory became the dominant interpretive theory in the western countries, leading the Western interpretation research into a new stage dominated by practitioners, which has a significant influence on the research of interpreting in China as well. The interpretive theory still has an important guiding significance on the nature of translation, analysis of interpreting process and objects, ideas on interpreting teaching, and on today’s interpreting practice and teaching.

Early Modern Social Theory: Selected Interpretive Readings Book by Murray E G Smith - Essays focus on the most prominent social theroists, including Smith, Durkheim, Marx, Engels and Weber. Each essay describes the main contributions of the theorist as well as the political and economic context in which he worked.

The Judiciary Is a They, Not an It: Two Fallacies of Interpretive Theory - ADRIAN VERMEULE, Harvard Law School. In the theory of constitutional and statutory interpretation, dynamic arguments point to the beneficial effects on legislative behavior that will result if "judges" or "courts" adopt a particular approach to interpretation. In the language of economics and consequentialist political theory, the interpretive theorist and the interpretive theory have overlooked essential questions of the second-best, which arise when a general or collective equilibrium cannot be attained. It is an irony of interpretive theory that so much emphasis has been given to exploring the consequences of the legislature's collective character, while inadequate attention has been paid to the same problem in judicial institutions.

INTERPRETIVISM AND CONSTRUCTIVISM - ROBERT GEPHART, University of Alberta. Interpretivist theory and research is fundamentally concerned with meaning and it seeks to understand social members' definition of a situation (Schwandt, 1994: 118). Interpretive theory involves building a second order theory or theory of members' theories (Schutz, 1973) in contrast to positivism which is concerned with objective reality and meanings thought to be independent of people.

Interpretivist theory and constructionist theory are concerned with subjective meanings, how individuals or members of society apprehend, understand and make sense of social events and settings and how this sensemaking produces features of the very settings to which sensemaking is responsive, the concern for reflexivity. Constructionists have also been particularly concerned with the interplay of subjective, objective and intersubjective knowledge. This research investigates how the objective features of society (organizations, social classes, technology and scientific facts) emerge from, depend on, and are constituted by subjective meanings of individuals and intersubjective processes such as discourses or discussions in groups (c.f. Gephart, 1993, 1997).

Researching Your Professional Pratice: Doing Interpretive Research (Doing Qualitative Research in Educational Settings)  Book by Hilary A. Radnor. What is interpretive research? How do you approach doing interpretive research? How do you do interpretive research well? This book is for the professional educator who wants to make use of good interpretive research practice to help them do their job better. The book is designed to demystify the interpretive theory and qualitative research process for educators doing a further degree at masters or doctoral level. The fact is that to commit oneself to a semiotic concept of culture and an interpretive theory approach to the study of it is to commit oneself to a view of ethnographic assertion as… ‘essentially contestable.’ - Clifford Geertz, “Description: Toward and Interpretive Theory of Culture,” The Interpretation of Culture, (NY: Basic Books, 1973).

Toward an Interpretive Theory of Legal Ethics
Rakesh K. Anand, Syracuse University College of Law, Rutgers Law Review, Vol. 58, p. 653, 2006.
Abstract: This Article is organized around a simple question: Where's the law in legal ethics? The most powerful contemporary thinking about lawyer behavior tells us that there is nothing uniquely "legal" about a lawyer's professional responsibility and that his or her obligations are simply the common moral obligations of us all, and nothing more. In the abstract, this position may seem shocking enough. But, the real astonishment comes when one reflects on the prescriptions for lawyer conduct that follow from this line of thought.

Hermeneutics: An Introduction to Interpretive Theory by Stanley E. Porter and Jason C. Robinson (Nov 15, 2011).