Compaso - Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology

CfP: Ways of Understanding, Misunderstanding and Not Understanding People

Deadline for manuscript submission: 15 September 2012

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Social research relies on our claims of understanding people – which often rely, further, on the claims advanced by our research participants (as respondents, informants, subjects, or in other roles) of understanding themselves and other people.

At times, we are also confronted, as researchers and in other walks of life, with difficulties, failures, and outright impossibilities of understanding people.

We invite papers that reflect on forms of understanding, misunderstanding and not understanding people. Articles that have a comparative focus, by looking at different forms, instances, settings etc., are especially welcome.

Some of the questions that may guide discussion include (without being limited to) the following:

-Different forms: What forms and claims of understanding, not understanding, misunderstanding, uncertain understanding, better understanding etc. have we encountered in our research?
-Rhetorical use: How do people report their understanding of other people as arguments in conversations? How do claims of understanding,
misunderstanding, not understanding, uncertain understanding, partial understanding etc. function as arguments that support one’s stance and undermine alternative versions? What is the rhetorical force of these various claims of understanding and lack thereof?
-Social organization: How are these forms of understanding and not understanding socially organized? What social positions (such as professionals, parents, friends, spouses etc) are privileged in claiming understanding of particular other people? When and how do alternative understandings clash, and how are these conflicts adjudicated?
-Professional versus common reason: How is our professional understanding of people related to the common-reason forms of understanding and lack thereof of the people that we rely on – as subjects, informants, respondents etc? How do we position our understanding to be better? How do we elicit their understanding?
-Techniques and technologies: How do we operate with theories, schemes and models, methods, techniques, instruments of understanding people? How do other people operate with such tools? What do we (and others) take to be more or less reliable indicators of other people’s thoughts, personalities, motives, ways of being? How do we elicit and / or read CVs, photos, Facebook profiles, test results, biographies, obituaries, interviews, and other would-be ways of understanding
-Different perspectives: How do different theoretical or disciplinary perspectives shape our understanding of people? What are the benefits and the threats of drawing on, and combining, different disciplinary perspectives in our research papers/studies?

Articles that engage in a comparative approach, connecting different concepts, materials, methods, situations, pieces of research or other social realities, are particularly welcome.
Please check the Journal’s website for guidelines on manuscript submission:

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