Fusion of Horizons: Realizing a Meaningful Understanding in Qualitative Research

Qualitative Research 23 (4):940-961 (2021)
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This paper explores a case example of qualitative research that applied productive hermeneutics and the central concept, fusion of horizons. Interpretation of meaning is a fusing of the researchers’ and subjects’ perspectives and serves to expand understanding. The purpose is to illustrate an exemplar of qualitative research without establishing a rigid recipe of methodology. The illustration is based on in-depth observational and textual data from an applied anthropological study conducted in western Alaska with Yup’ik hunters and fishers and government agency employees as they worked towards collaborative management. The metaphor of the hermeneutical circle is showcased to help the reader understand the philosophical underpinnings and the analytical processes used to realize a meaningful interpretation. A series of organizing systems for the interpretation is described, culminating in a final organizing system to communicate a fully realized understanding of collaborative management at the time.

Author Profiles

Jeffrey Brooks
U.S. Department of The Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management


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