EDITORIAL - QUALITATIVE UNDERSTANDING OF OTHERS AND QUALITATIVE SOCIOLOGY
Welcome to the new journal Qualitative Sociology Review.
We created this online Journal to promote qualitative understanding of social phenomena, human being and other species. Our aims are included in our mission. Community is one of the values that we want to advance. We would like to integrate qualitative researchers from all around the world and create one community. Community of individuals respecting each other as human beings with tolerance and equality in mind and approbation of scientific rules of understanding of a social world.
However we promote qualitative way of thinking, refusing 'a rule of majority' that is used in quantitative research and generally in everyday life of societies dominated by 'a survey philosophy'. If we want to understand others and maybe explain their actions and interpretation of the world we should concentrate on definitions of situations that could be typologized and conceptualized in order to understand the more general dimensions of social worlds. Thus it is difficult to accept that the usage of quantity (the rule of majority) decides how we can understand human being acting. 'The more something is' does not designate any meaning for understanding of human action. If something is large in quantity it only means that it is large in quantity, nothing more. The individual and social meaning of quantity has a qualitative character and usually depends on a context and individual interpretation of social and cultural rules. The concept of quantity is important, especially in explaining material world, but in understanding human being as a social being and her/his actions it is not enough. Analysis of social phenomena described quantitatively is always understood qualitatively. We cannot say anything comprehensively using only numbers without types, classes, categories, properties of categories, descriptions, relations. Pure numbers do not exist, they exist only in experience of acting individuals.
What we then mean by qualitative sociology? Qualitative sociology is a perspective of description, understanding and sometimes explaining social phenomena by investigating and analyzing individual and group experiences and world outlooks plus human actions, using qualitative methods of research or qualitative analysis of qualitative and/or quantitative data. Qualitative sociology is not only associated with the usage of qualitative methods of research (group interviews, participant observations, field studies, etc.), as it is sometimes understood. It is a qualitative way of thinking about human experience, i.e. the way of 'scientific intersubjective empathy' in getting the meaning of individual and group experience of so called external world. The effect of research and analysis could be a theoretical description or conceptualization and theoretical integration of concepts. But concepts must always be grounded in empirical observations. We should remember that the qualitative sociology is a kind of general orientation in sociology, not only a usage of so called qualitative methods. However we have to remember that this orientation is internally very diverse.
Our Journal is open to all perspectives in qualitative research and analysis of social phenomena. We promote diversity in qualitative social research. Qualitative Sociology Review is then the journal of Symbolic Interactionism, Grounded Theories, Social Worlds/Arenas Studies, Action Studies, Biographical Analysis, Conversation Analysis, Collaborative Social Research, Content Analysis, Discourse Analysis, Deconstructivism, Ethnography, Ethnoscience, Ethnomethodology, Evaluation Social Research, Hermeneutics, Holistic Ethnography, Institutional Ethnography, Phenomenology, Phenomenography, Narrative Studies, Naturalistic Studies, Social Anthropology, Qualitative Case Studies and other qualitative orientations within social sciences. Our Journal is of an Open Access kind. Growing prices of scientific books, journals, monographs, etc. are a serious barrier for a wide and common access to scientific works. We would like to contribute to Open Access Movement in scientific endeavors and at the same time propagate our ideas, scientific works and discoveries.
We do not believe in any boundaries in the world, especially here in Lodz (Poland), where many editors settled down for a moment. The city is famous for its diverse culture, that it originally has had. Before the II WW it consisted of four big ethnicities: Poles, Jewish, Germans and Russians and also many others. It is a city of big artists: Artur Rubinstein, Wladyslaw Reymont, Wladyslaw Strzeminski, Antoni Tansmann, Julian Tuwim, Michal Urbaniak and many others come from Lodz. The tradition of tolerance and spiritual invigoration coming from the mixture of cultures and nations is still alive but as every tradition should be supported by collective actions at all times.
We remember the time of scientific books and instruments shortage before 1989 and we know the high prices of books and journals today. Many of our friends from behind of the Iron Curtain helped us a lot sending the books and papers in the past. Now, we would like to assist other scientists in need, who maybe have some problems with a shortage of scientific publications from the whole world. Internet, as a very democratic instrument of communication, helps a lot to solve the problem. Webside journals seem to be a future of free scientific communication.
In the inaugural issue of our Journal we present diverse papers, in the approaching editions we plan to construct volumes and issues one subject oriented.
Feel free to read this new journal and to participate in creating its forthcoming issues! We await your papers, book reviews, comments and discussions.
© Qualitative Sociology Review 2005