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Is Modernism vs. Postmodernism a Relevant Discussion?

Bednar, Peter LU and Welch, Christine (2008) 7th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies, 2008 In [Host publication title missing] p.83-88
Abstract
As travellers, we are usually aware that a map is not the territory it represents. However, as researchers, inquiring into practice, are we always aware of the domain within which that practice is situated? Descriptions of practice sometimes suggest that this is not the case. For example, do engineers actually believe that the models they develop and use are reflections of some reality? It is likely that an engineer never actually follows his models when developing an artefact or process. Similarly, we can ask ourselves whether we believe that a chef actually cooks by following a recipe. Possibly, only someone who does not know how to cook would think so. These idealised are simply the basis for discussion/reflection and experimentation?... (More)
As travellers, we are usually aware that a map is not the territory it represents. However, as researchers, inquiring into practice, are we always aware of the domain within which that practice is situated? Descriptions of practice sometimes suggest that this is not the case. For example, do engineers actually believe that the models they develop and use are reflections of some reality? It is likely that an engineer never actually follows his models when developing an artefact or process. Similarly, we can ask ourselves whether we believe that a chef actually cooks by following a recipe. Possibly, only someone who does not know how to cook would think so. These idealised are simply the basis for discussion/reflection and experimentation? It is sometimes the case, however, that descriptions of practice are produced based in a kind of rationality that suggests these misapprehensions are appropriate. In the context of research, can we say that postmodernism has any relevance? If, in the field of practice, only the uninitiated ever had illusions that the ‘grand theories’ of ‘modernism’ could be directly applicable, then informed research must recognize this also. To those with no illusions, such ‘grand theories’ were a basis for reflection and critique. Thus, to this extent we have always been ‘modern’ and still are. Rather than espousing a Postmodernist perspective, we might point to ‘Hypermodernism’ – a recognition that the ‘grand theories’ can only be used as metaphors, i.e. a basis for practical philosophy. By adopting such a stance, it is possible to avoid a false step of fighting ‘straw men’ and dismissing as worthless research which could be useful material for reflection and learning when juxtaposed with other perspectives on practice. Models and explanatory frameworks within which research has been conducted need not be rejected as ‘modernist’ if there is recognition of their useful role as metaphor. At the same time, we suggest a need for a critically-informed approach to research which sheds light upon taken-for-granted assumptions and naïve rationalities, illuminating metaphor and stimulating reflection. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Critical Systemic Thinking: Systems thinking, Research Narrative, Contextual Inquiry
in
[Host publication title missing]
editor
Brown, Ann
pages
6 pages
publisher
ACI Academic Conferences International
conference name
7th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies, 2008
ISBN
978-1906638-03-0
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
fbc62fce-d3f7-47b5-b828-d8cb1809dc45 (old id 1486492)
date added to LUP
2009-10-12 14:39:54
date last changed
2016-07-07 09:33:34
@inproceedings{fbc62fce-d3f7-47b5-b828-d8cb1809dc45,
  abstract     = {As travellers, we are usually aware that a map is not the territory it represents. However, as researchers, inquiring into practice, are we always aware of the domain within which that practice is situated? Descriptions of practice sometimes suggest that this is not the case. For example, do engineers actually believe that the models they develop and use are reflections of some reality? It is likely that an engineer never actually follows his models when developing an artefact or process. Similarly, we can ask ourselves whether we believe that a chef actually cooks by following a recipe. Possibly, only someone who does not know how to cook would think so. These idealised are simply the basis for discussion/reflection and experimentation? It is sometimes the case, however, that descriptions of practice are produced based in a kind of rationality that suggests these misapprehensions are appropriate. In the context of research, can we say that postmodernism has any relevance? If, in the field of practice, only the uninitiated ever had illusions that the ‘grand theories’ of ‘modernism’ could be directly applicable, then informed research must recognize this also. To those with no illusions, such ‘grand theories’ were a basis for reflection and critique. Thus, to this extent we have always been ‘modern’ and still are. Rather than espousing a Postmodernist perspective, we might point to ‘Hypermodernism’ – a recognition that the ‘grand theories’ can only be used as metaphors, i.e. a basis for practical philosophy. By adopting such a stance, it is possible to avoid a false step of fighting ‘straw men’ and dismissing as worthless research which could be useful material for reflection and learning when juxtaposed with other perspectives on practice. Models and explanatory frameworks within which research has been conducted need not be rejected as ‘modernist’ if there is recognition of their useful role as metaphor. At the same time, we suggest a need for a critically-informed approach to research which sheds light upon taken-for-granted assumptions and naïve rationalities, illuminating metaphor and stimulating reflection.},
  author       = {Bednar, Peter and Welch, Christine},
  booktitle    = {[Host publication title missing]},
  editor       = {Brown, Ann},
  isbn         = {978-1906638-03-0},
  keyword      = {Critical Systemic Thinking: Systems thinking,Research Narrative,Contextual Inquiry},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {83--88},
  publisher    = {ACI Academic Conferences International},
  title        = {Is Modernism vs. Postmodernism a Relevant Discussion?},
  year         = {2008},
}