Chapter 33 Holistic research methodology and pragmatic collective action
Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research
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One of the privileged methods in social innovation analysis, especially when studying social innovation to address social exclusion in different but still comparable situations, is holism (Moulaert 2000). Holism as a method of research was developed in the 1920s, and has popped up periodically since then for use in comparative analysis. It has natural links with pragmatism as a social philosophy and a scientific approach (Ramstad 1986). In general terms, holism refers to a methodological perspective that gives special attention to parts-whole interactions. This makes it of particular interest to comparative case-study analysis, an essential part of social innovation research which connects collective action to the analysis of the situational and institutional conditions in which it occurs. This chapter consists of four sections following this introduction. First we briefly explain the links between collective action and holistic analysis. In the second section we explain holism as theoretically structured comparative case study analysis. Different theories can be used to select themes eligible for analysis in holism and to identify the relations (pattern models) between them.

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