Analysing Identities : Interpretive Methodologies


Séminaire méthodologique non résidentiel

25 & 26 mars 2011, Château de Dorigny, Campus de Dorigny, salle 107.


Plan du campus:

Depuis la gare de Lausanne: prendre le métro en face de la gare, jusqu'à l'arrêt FLON (un arrêt). Depuis FLON, prendre le métro M1 direction RENENS, descendre à l'arrêt UNIL-DORIGNY. Un système de fléchage vous indiquera ensuite la route (il faut compter environ une demi heure depuis la gare CFF jusqu'au campus).


*Délai d'inscription: 27 février 2011*

Sous la responsabilité de

Véronique Mottier, Associate Professor, Laboratoire de Sociologie, UNIL & Fellow and Director of Studies, Jesus College, Cambridge


Prof. Dvory Yanow, University of Amsterdam & Prof. Veronique Mottier, UNIL & Fellow and Director of Studies Jesus College, Cambridge.


(This workshop will be taught in English)


This workshop explores the use of interpretive methodologies for analysing individual as well as collective identity constructions. More precisely, we shall examine use of interpretive methodologies for scrutinising the ways in which national, ethnic, racial, gender, or sexual identities are produced or re-articulated in the context of public policy discourses, media debates, statistical questionnaires, historical archives, or personal experience narratives including those produced in interview-contexts.

Against this backdrop, the goals of the workshop are to:
(1) examine the application of interpretive methods to a variety of empirical materials, ranging from ethnographic observations or interview transcripts to various types of textual data such as media materials, policy documents or images;
(2) examine the ways in which meanings, identities and categorisations are produced within such data, with the help of practical exercises;
(3) examine the social consequences and power effects which result from these constructions of meanings and identities;
(4) discuss strategies of data presentation and validity;
(5) offer participants in this workshop the opportunity to receive feedback from experts in the field on methodological aspects of their own research

On Friday 25 March, Prof. YANOW will focus specifically on the use of interpretive methodologies in participant observation/ethnographic research, while also interweaving issues in documentary and other forms of material data, including archival research. She will discuss research designs in interpretive field research; how to conceptualise the relationship between research designs and what happens in the field; how to explore issues of reflexivity and presentation in interpretive field research; and outline ways of ensuring or improving the quality of this type of research.

On Saturday 26 March, Prof. MOTTIER will focus specifically on the use of interpretive methodologies for analysing textual data, such as discourse/narrative analysis of public policy or organisational discourses, archival data, interview transcripts, or images. She will discuss key steps in discourse-analytical research designs and presentation, and outline ways of ensuring or improving the quality of this type of research.   


Enrolment will be limited to 25 participants. Sociologists will have first choice but PhD candidates in related disciplines (political science, anthropology, gender studies, organisational studies etc.) are welcome provided there are enough spaces left on the course.

Participants who would like to present their own research project, or discuss specific problems encountered in their research, are invited to do so in English during the Friday afternoon session; in English OR French during the Saturday afternoon session. Those persons interested in doing so are requested to email a short outline of what they would like to discuss (max. 400 words) to [email protected] by 11 February 2011. Presentations of research at any stage of advancement are welcome – ranging from almost-final dissertation drafts to preliminary research intentions. Participants will be expected to prepare for this workshop by reading one/two texts for each of the two workshop days. The texts will be circulated by 15 February.

Program (sous réserve de modifications)

Friday 25 March (Prof. Dvora Yanow)

9h30-10h00Introduction and presentation of instructors and participants
Profs Véronique Mottier & Dvora Yanow

10h00-12h15 (coffee break 15 min)Interpretive methodologies in field research: research designs
Prof. D. Yanow

14h00-15h30Interpretive methodologies in field research: generating data
Prof. D. Yanow
15h30-16h00Coffee break 30 mins
16h00-17h30Discussion of participants’ research & question session
Prof. D. Yanow


Saturday 26 March (Prof. V. Mottier)

9h30-12h15 (coffee break 15 min)Discourse/narrative analysis: research design & quality concerns
Prof. V. Mottier
14h00-16h00Discussion of participants’ research & question session
Prof. V. Mottier

Prof. Dvora Yanow, University of Amsterdam

Dvora Yanow is an expert on interpretive ethnography in organisational settings. Her research has been shaped by an overall interest in the communication of meaning in organizational and policy settings.  She is the author of How does a policy mean?  Interpreting policy and organizational actions (Georgetown University Press, 1996); Conducting interpretive policy analysis (Sage, 2000); and Constructing "race” and “ethnicity" in America:  Category-making in public policy and administration (M E Sharpe, 2003, winner of the 2004 ASPA and 2007 Herbert A. Simon-APSA book awards) and co-editor of Knowing in organizations: A practice-based approach (M E Sharpe, 2003), Interpretation and method:  Empirical research methods and the interpretive turn (M E Sharpe, 2006), Organizational ethnography:  Studying the complexities of everyday life (Sage, 2009), and the forthcoming Organisational spaces:  Rematerializing the workaday world (Edward Elgar, 2010), as well as the new Routledge Book Series on Interpretive Methods.  Current projects include comparative immigrant policy, Dutch race-ethnic category-making, reflective practice, policy frames and framing, organizational and science museums in relation to state identity formation, emics/etics, and US Institutional Review Board policies and practices.

Prof. Véronique Mottier, UNIL & Jesus College, Cambridge

Véronique Mottier is an expert in discourse/narrative theory and analysis which she has taught at the universities of Cambridge, Geneva, and Lausanne; additionally, she has also taught one/two-week interpretive methods courses at the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis and Collection (1999-2006), the European University Institute in Florence, the Universities of Lisbonne, Pretoria, and Johannesburg. Her substantive research and teaching interests are in the areas of historical and political sociology; gender, sexuality and ‘race’; and welfare states and social exclusion. Her books include Sexuality (Sterling, 2010); Sexuality: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2008), and the co-edited volumes Pflege, Stigmatisierung und Eugenik (Seismo, 2007), Genre et politique (Gallimard, 2000), and Politics of Sexuality: Identity, Gender, Citizenship (Routledge, 1998).