chapter  9
14 Pages

What it means to be a Man: The Body, Masculinities, Disability

WithGILL VALENTINE

Within the social sciences the 1990s have been marked by an increased recognition of the significance of using case study research, autobiography and other forms of personal narrative in enabling us to understand and shed light on the processes which operate in our everyday lives. There is a long history of case study research within the social sciences (see, for example, Platt 1992), although this methodology has been understood to mean different things at different times. In a contemporary context, case studies are understood to be selected on theoretical grounds and to be designed to answer particular theoretical or policy questions (Yin 1984). ‘[T]he object of the analysis [in case study research] is not in fact “culture” or “society” of which the events might be considered samples, but rather the social processes which may be abstracted from the course of events analysed’ (van Velsen 1967). Further the intention in adopting a case study approach is not to invoke statistical inference from the findings. Rather as Mitchell (1983:207) argues ‘the validity of the extrapolation [from the case study to a parent universe] depends not on the typicality or representativeness of the case but upon the cogency of the theoretical reasoning’.