Article

Hermeneutics and Meaning‐Making in Information Systems

Lucas D. Introna

in The Oxford Handbook of Management Information Systems

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580583
Published online September 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199580583.003.0011

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

Hermeneutics and Meaning‐Making in Information Systems

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The purpose of this article is to introduce information system (IS) researchers to the field of hermeneutics. It begins by sketching out a brief history of hermeneutics. It highlights that hermeneutics, as the art or practice of interpretation, is an intellectual tradition. It further suggests that there are different views as to what is being ‘recovered’ in the process of interpretation. This article proceeds to propose that the development of hermeneutics can be characterized as a gradual expansion of the nature of the ‘text’ to be interpreted: from the notion of obscure (often religious) texts to seemingly obscure texts (such as art and music) to everyday life as a text; or from a methodology for interpreting obscure texts to an ontology of social life as fundamentally hermeneutic. This article closes with some conclusions and implications for IS researchers — both for their research practice and their objects of study.

Keywords: information system; hermeneutics; history; interpretation; obscure texts; IS researchers

Article.  12399 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Knowledge Management

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