chapter  7
22 Pages

Getting in Touch with the World: Meaning and Presence in Social Science

BySvend Brinkmann

This chapter focuses on meaning and interpretation in qualitative social science. It introduces the notion of presence in Gumbrecht's sense and seeks to make it useful in relation to the poetic imagination in social science. Presence is deeply and primarily (but not exclusively) connected to the poetic - in the same was as meanings are primarily (but again not exclusively) connected to narrative. The chapter shows that the layer of presence in social life without reducing it, either 'upwards' to meaning or 'downwards' to causality, and the reader secondarily comes to appreciate the importance of rhythm to a wide range of collective activities in human life. This illustrates the idea that getting m touch with the world can be achieved through careful descriptions of bodily movements. Mol's text illustrates that it is possible to do provocative and interesting deconstructive work simply by taking an everyday occurrence as a starting point and making it impress us through presence.