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Critical Realism - what is it and can I use it for my PhD?

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samantha davis

on 9 June 2015

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Transcript of Critical Realism - what is it and can I use it for my PhD?

An Introduction to Critical Realism -
Dr Sam Davis

What is CR and can I use it for my PhD?
CR is:
a theory of
a theory of
a realist theory of
cause & effect

Some key concepts...
How agency works for real...
What does it mean to take a critical realist perspective?
task 1
What defines human reality?
'Vexatious fact of society'
the inner conversation and the ability to reflect
powers are
in potentia
and only
through human
and under certain conditions...
define reality.....!
time for a break....!
Archer, 1995, p.1
the real world is not an artefact!
limitation and constraint

the 'involuntary placement' of class, gender, race....
causal powers
of people - PEP's
of structures - SEP's
of culture - CEP's
analytical dualism
to show that although society (structures) first conditions
agency in turn, elaborates upon society (or the structures) it confronts:

the morphogenetic sequence

Archer,1995, pp.201-3
using the realist concept of the stratified self
to explain identity and agency formation
task 2
: who are you?

Modernity's Man
Society's Being
Critical realism offers a position between
resisting the tendency to conflate (upwards or downwards) when trying to explain the messiness of real life ...
how does critical realism do this?
the critical realist concept of the stratified self
So, how did I use critical theory as a conceptual framework?

but more importantly, how do you think you can use it?

Archer, M.S. (1995) Realist social theory: the morphogenetic approach, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Archer, M.S. (2000) Being Human, The Problem of Agency, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Zinn, H, (1994) You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times, Beacon Press.

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