Since the structuralist debates of the 1970s the field of textual analysis has largely remained the preserve of literary theorists. Social scientists, while accepting that observation is theory laden have tended to take the meaning of texts as given and to explain differences of interpretation either in terms of ignorance or bias. In this important contribution to methodological debate, Peter Ekegren uses developments within literary criticism, philosophy and critical theory to reclaim this study for the social sciences and to illuminate the ways in which different readings of a single text are created and defended.

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