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A Case for Flexible Epistemology and Metamethodology in Religious Fundamentalism Research

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Author(s): Carter J. Haynes

Journal: Integral Review
ISSN 1553-3069

Volume: 6;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 36;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Epistemology | fundamentalism | Habermas | metamethodology | metatheory | positivism

ABSTRACT
After reviewing a representative sample of current and historical research in religious fundamentalism, the author addresses the epistemological presuppositions supporting both quantitative and qualitative methodologies and argues for epistemological flexibility and metamethodology, both of which support and are supported by metatheoretical thinking. Habermas’ concept of the scientistic self-understanding of the sciences is used to point up the limitations of positivist epistemology, especially in the context of fundamentalism research. A metamethodological approach, supported by epistemological flexibility, makes dialogical engagement between researchers and those they research possible, and an example of how this would look in an actual research design is provided. The article concludes with a theoretical statement and graphic representation of a model for dialogical engagement between Western scholars and non-Western religious fundamentalists. Such engagement, the author argues, is necessary before any real progress on the “problem” of radicalized fundamentalism can be made.
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