chapter  3
19 Pages

Debates about epistemology in recent social science

There have been two recent waves of relativism in the social sciences. The first in the 1960s can be called ‘phenomenology’ after Schutz’s book with that title (1967). The second wave was inspired by Foucault’s writings and is generally referred to as ‘poststructuralism’ or ‘postmodernism’. I will concentrate on this second wave. To begin with I will just look at writings about the social sciences that have been informed by a reading of Foucault’s work. After that I will make a few comments about how a different reading of Foucault’s position can also make sense. Finally I will compare my own position with what has been called ‘critical realism’ and derives from the writing of Bhaskar.