Rewriting Social Science: The Literary Turn in Qualitative Research

Hammersley, Martyn (2023). Rewriting Social Science: The Literary Turn in Qualitative Research. Qualitative Inquiry (early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/10778004231165981

Abstract

In the past few decades, there have been efforts to transform qualitative inquiry, drawing on resources from both imaginative literature and art. There have long been tensions within social science that have encouraged the use of these resources, but the recent “literary turn” is more radical. The assumptions underpinning it are examined, and it is argued that what is most important is the purpose for which modes of expression are employed and how well they serve this. The problem with the literary turn is that it frequently involves substitution of the purposes of art or politics for those of social science.

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