Presentation on theme: "Theoretical Pluralism in the Study of Unemployment Aims: –1) to define and apply theoretical pluralism –2) to note that studies of unemployment can benefit."— Presentation transcript:
Theoretical Pluralism in the Study of Unemployment Aims: –1) to define and apply theoretical pluralism –2) to note that studies of unemployment can benefit from using a realist approach to the various causal mechanisms that lead to labour- market inactivity –3) to make explicit some advantages of theoretical pluralism and to note its inherently inter-disciplinary character
What do survey data represent? Data are a mirror? This is a correspondence theory of representation using variables. It is not very realistic. Data are a map? Triangulation improves the map The knowledge map is more in-depth than the survey data matrix itself; maps and models are simplifications
Operationalisation revisited: Top-down operationalisation: takes the survey data as given. Seeks to make extensive generalisations. Bottom-up operationalisation: Begins with primary experience. Insists on revised survey data reflecting (!) social realities. Links with qualitative findings.
Pluralism Has Been Advocated by the Methodologists Who Recommend Triangulation: Roth, Hacking, Dow, Flick, Byrne, Carter, New, Marsh, Dale, Lawson, Beynon, Fagan, Warde, Kabeer, Rubery, and many others. Methodological Pluralism –QUALITATIVE + QUANTITATIVE –INTERWOVEN SURVEY DATA + QUALITATIVE DATA Theoretical Pluralism –COMPETING EXPLANATIONS –EXPLANATION AND UNDERSTANDING, LINKED (reasons & causes) –COMPLEMENTARY INTERPRETATIONS
We can have rational criteria for judging between theories 1) evidence? [but there is limited scope for evidence in itself to tell us which theories are good] 2) explanatory comprehensiveness 3) ontological depth –(Ontology = theory of what exists; –depth ontology is a complex notion of what exists, which realists recommend) 4) avoidance of epistemological chasms
Four Schools of Thought in the Analysis of Indian Tenancy
Four main approaches to labour- force participation The main theories which are used at present are neoclassical economic; feminist; Hakims preference theory; comparative welfare regime; and a separable argument about health (LLTI) Revision of the theories is going to come after the trickle- down of discoveries via qualitative research: Contingent labouring Informal & flexible work replace formal jobs
Reconceptualising Labour-Force Participation Traditionally the inactive were omitted. Now we have at least four main categories, and we dont exclude students or retired people before categorising: 1) employed, 2) self-employed, 3) inactive, and 4) unemployed. However a better reconceptualisation would allow properly for informal-sector work, contingent work, piecework, seasonal work, and unremunerated but organised caring work.
Choose one of the following ideal types for your mode of analysis: Empiricist: the data can speak; the facts speak for themselves; we observe regularities and it must be true that they are caused. Realist: the data are a thin veneer, a bad reflection, a crude map; reality has underlying real structures and is complex. Constructivist: because survey data are crude, dont use them. Get involved.
Conclusions: Realism is more well-rounded than idealist model-building, and is a good answer to exaggerated constructivism and to the rejection of statistics, but … there is a need for revised methods such as cluster analysis of causal trajectories, and triangulation is highly recommended. Converting unobservables into operationalised records of events works. Bridges can be built between theories.
Some Limits to Pluralism Disciplines create lenses for viewing; some disciplines must stay in the background. Measurement requires theory, therefore the survey method has its own limitations. Interpretation also have a limited remit. The combination of continuous quantitative variables + interpretation is, in turn, ambitious.