Positivist and Interpretivist Models essay
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Generally, different communities have varying backgrounds. Therefore, different societies should be compared according to the fact that each of them has its own special cultural values, legal and political frameworks, and varying languages. Comparing the social incidences in societies, which have different backgrounds, legal frameworks as well as cultural values, is very vital in terms of building societal scientific knowledge. Emile Durkheim is one of the few positivist intellectuals who believe in this ideology. The only discrepancy of this theory is the surmountable difficulties arising because of the special circumstance of studying the different cultures (Teune, 1990). By the way, the article shows that there is another line of argument, which is expressed by the interpretive thinkers like Max Weber and Peter Winch (Travers, 2008). They feel that there are misplaced objectives of finding the causal laws that have been modeled on procedures of natural science. When comparing groups and various institutions in the society with similar cultural values, certain conceptual problems arise (Travers, 2008). These problems require a considerable change in how one conceptualizes the comparative research rather than managing the problem through greater care in defining the various variables involved.
The Durkheimian project of comparing social science, especially criminology, has come up with another way of understanding. Namely, it addresses the meaningful characters that exist within the human activities and institutions (Travers, 2008). This has earned the positivist model a de facto status in the field of social sciences. In addition, the interpretive thinkers have made a big effort in trying to oppose the positivist way of understanding without supporting the Durkheimian theory of explanation, especially with regards to post modernization and constructionism (Travers, 2008). Positivism encompasses a wide range of positions and, therefore, aims at identifying the laws by conducting several experiments that are based on the measurement of variables using the same methods as natural science (Halfpenny, 1982). This means that an individual’s views are considered irrelevant and have numerous errors. The human daily lifestyle is encompassed with numerous forces, which are hidden and have minimal capabilities to understanding. Therefore, they hold back the human actions. Contrary to this argument, the interpretive thinkers led by Weber have argued that sociology ought to address the meaning and procedures that have been used and continue to be used by natural scientists and highlight these issues as inappropriate. Actually, this is because sociology is concerned with human beings who have a free will and a sober conscience (Travers, 2008).
The positivist model of explaining criminal justice as shown by Durkheim states that sociology is proportional. It also states that sociology ought to pursue the logic of explanation and make use of the experimental procedures, which have been used in the natural science. Durkheim challenges researchers to free themselves from too much dependency on their common knowledge. According to him, they should rather come up with constructive scientific theories, which could end up being refined and developed through analyzing of the official statistics (Travers, 2008).
On the other hand, interpretive thinkers argue that philosophy is a branch of social science that perceives natural science as a model that is inappropriate for the study of human behavior. The given theory is an advance in incorporating various degrees of research programs dealing with crime as well as the criminal justice system. It also attempts to reconcile and, at the same time, recognize the tensions between post modernization and constructionism (Travers, 2008).