Postfoundationalism as a Practical Way of Interdisciplinary Dialoque: Narrative Research on HIV and AIDS

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It will be argued that the Postfoundationalist approach is part of a paradigm shift. The alternative paradigm becomes apparent in the names given to it. Labels such as “post-structuralism”, “deconstructionism”, “the interpretive turn”, “the new hermeneutics”, “postmodernism”, and “postfoundationalism” are all, in some or other way, applicable in describing this alternative metaphor for understanding and interpreting reality. It is new and therefore a paradigm that has moved beyond certain ways of understanding. It moved beyond structuralism and also beyond constructivism. It corrects the subjective, individualistic, and intra-psychic ideas on the construction of realities within constructivism. At the same time it is a protest against relativism and an emphasis on the value-driven processes through which preferred realities are socially constructed.
Such a preferred interdisciplinary reality can be socially constructed on the basis of Postfoundationalist theory. Wentzel van Huyssteen , one of the main scholars in this field, has formulated the social and contextual embeddedness of this approach as follows: “… we cannot talk abstractly and theoretically about the phenomenon of rationality anymore: it is only as individual human beings, living with other human beings in concrete situations and contexts, that we can claim some form of rationality.”
This approach to rationality becomes the basis of an interdisciplinary method, referred to as transversal rationality. Therefore it makes sense to use a very specific research project as case study. As a practical theologian, working in the context of South Africa, I have focussed on research in the field of HIV and Aids in order to provide a concrete situation for the implementation of Postfoundationalism in the interdisciplinary process.


Keywords: Postfoundationalism, Social Constructionism, Narrative Research, Interdisciplinary Process, Transversal Rationality, HIV and Aids
Stream: Research Methodologies, Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: , Postfoundationalism as a Practical Way of Interdisciplinary Dialoque


Prof. Julian Cornelius Muller

Professor and Head of Department, Department of Practical Theology, University of Pretoria
Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

Professor Julian Muller is teaching practical theology for the last 25 years at the University of Pretoria. He has developed an interdisciplinary approach to his discipline and established courses on Masters and Doctoral level in the narrative approach to therapy and research. He has supervised more than a hundred Masters and over fifty PhD-candidates. Professor Muller enjoys an international reputation as a scholar and theologian who has pioneered and advanced a research and teaching method of narrative theology in the field of practical/pastoral theology. The South African context of the fall of apartheid, the emergence of a new democracy often referred to as the "New South Africa" and the concerns these changes are raising for all of its citizens, and the crisis of HIV and AIDS and the transformation of the Dutch Reformed Church and the implications for how this church understands its mission and develops leaders, are all matters to which Prof. Muller's work pays attention.

Ref: I08P0736