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Bulletin de Méthodologie Sociologique http://bms.sagepub.


The Use of Weberian Ideal-Type Methodology in Qualitative Data Interpretation: an Outline for Ideal-Type Analysis
Uta Gerhardt Bulletin de Méthodologie Sociologique 1994 45: 74 DOI: 10.1177/075910639404500105 The online version of this article can be found at:

Published by:
Association Internationale de Methodologie Sociologique



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>> Version of Record - Dec 1, 1994
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What is This?


Uta Gerhardt
(Institut für Soziologie, Ruprecht-Karls-Universitât Heidelberg,

Sandgasse 9.

D 69117


méthodologie des types-idéaux wéberiens dans l’interprétations guide pour l’analyse par types-idéaux. Cet article donne une vue d’ensemble de l’analyse par types-idéaux, telle qu’elle ressort des travaux de Weber et telle qu’elle peut être utilisée dans l’interprétation qualitative des données. L’article comporte quatre parties. En premier lieu, la conception des types-idéaux de Weber est reconstruite à partir de ses écrits. En second, les idées de Weber sont ré-examinées pour dégager une méthodologie en trois étapes qui est, dans une troisième partie, présentée en détail. Les trois étapes de l’analyse par types-idéaux sont décrites et représentent une adaptation aussi bien qu’une application de la pensée de Weber, tout en respectant les besoins de l’analyse Interprétative des données. Enfin, l’auteur utilise une de ses deux études longitudinales menées antérleurement pour montrer comment l’interprétation formelle des


L’utilisation de la des données - un

données qualitative peut utiliser une méthodologie de types-idéaux et fournir des résultats probants. Max Weber, Méthodologie et analyse par types-idéaux. Analyse longitudinale. Analyse qualitative des données.
Abstract. This article gives a short overview of what ideal-type analysis is, how lt is gounded in Weber’s works and how it may be used in qualitative data interpretation. It has four main parts. First,

Weber’s conception of

ideal-types is reconstructed from his writings. Second, Weber’s ideas are reinterpreted such that a three-step methodology emerges, which is. third, depicted in more detall. The three steps of ideal-type analysis are outlined which is an adaptation as well as an application of

thought while fitting the needs of interpretive data analysis. Fourth, from one of two longitudinal studies the author has conducted, evidence is given to clarify how systematic qualitative data interpretation may use ideal-type methodology and yield insightful findings. Max Weber. IdealType Methodology and Analysis, Longitudinal Analysis, Qualitative Data Analysis.


Qualitative studies usually concentrate on the description of settings as well as the definition of the situation described by actors. They frequently adopt carefully selected methods of data collection
documentation but rarely engage in interpretation. Various well-known approaches and


- among them, Downloaded from at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11, 2013




supposedly manages portrayed in the data.

to understand the social


The reason given for this merger between data processing and data elicitation is that &dquo;naturalistic&dquo; research, as it is frequently called, allows for direct access to respondents’ understanding of their lifeworlds. Since &dquo;grounded theory&dquo; sees itself extracting from its respondents only the reality which subjects consciously experience, and sociology’s task is to portray the reality of society’s members, &dquo;grounded theory&dquo; based research presupposes that data processing and data analysis are one and the same thing. In a recent guide to &dquo;grounded theory&dquo;’s research procedures, Anselm Strauss and Juliet Corbin insist that the researcher has a direct grasp to the respondents’ &dquo;definition of the situation&dquo; and that such direct grasp uncovers the social phenomenon in a way which can immediately open up social theory. They state that &dquo;the research findings constitute a theoretical formulation of the reality under theory that is faithful to and illuminates the area under study&dquo; (1990:23). This methodological position neglects the distinction between social life and sociological thought. Whereas actors’ subjective &dquo;definition of the situation&dquo; allows for social action in the everyday world, sociological thought (social research inasmuch as it is systematic empirical elicitation of knowledge about actors’ reality) has a knowledge function distinct from the level of actors’ actions. Like all scientific knowledge, social research analyses the structure of subjective actions and orientations in an effort to place it into a framework of objective understanding of social phenomena. From the perspective of epistemology, however, it cannot be presupposed that objective knowledge can be generated through eliciting without

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It o. How could this be done? Using economics as an example.g.understand on the one hand the causes relationships their and the cultural significance on of individual events in their contemporary manifestations and of being historically so and the other the not otherwise&dquo. He searched for a solution that could overcome the quest for generalization at the same time as it transcended the need for individualization .e. 2013 . He wrote: We have in abstract economic theory an illustration of those constructs which have been designated as ’ideas’ of historical phenomena. Eugen von Boehm-Bawerk. which is conceived as an internally consistent system. Gustav Schmoller). this construct in itself is like a utopia which has been arrived at by the analytical accentuatton of certain elements of reality. (1904/1949:72). Substantiuely. was not satisfied duplicity. This conceptual pattern brings together certain relationships and events of historical life into a complex. He rejected positivism.g. free competition and rigorously rational conduct. indeed. concepts for the sake of understanding . (1904/1949:89/90) Downloaded from bms. how capitalism had developed over the centuries as a succession of phases related to the emergence of the nation state. Its relationship to the empirical data consists solely in the fact that where marketcondiaoned relationships of the type referred to by the abstract construct are discovered or suspected to exist in reality to some extent.allowed for social-science explanation that at once was general and capable of elucidating particular features of individual social phenomena.78 and supply through laws of economic motivation (e.. So he wanted to &dquo. Weber. Weber addressed the two approaches as nomothetic versus idiographic: they either explained events through laws that governed reality or they explained events through describing their development as parts of with this transient social-historical contexts. He felt that there should be a single approach to reality in social science.sagepub. we can make the characteristic features of this relationship pragmatically clear and understandable by reference to an at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. His criticism was directed against two sides. Carl Menger): the latter showed.introduced as heuristic devices. he made it clear that synthetic constructs . for instance. particularly in Europe (e.reconciling them in an attempt to explain individual social phenomena as an outcome of historical process and also as a manifestation of wider institutional structural patterns. Wilhelm Roscher. ffers us an ideal picture of events on the synthetic commodity-market under conditions of a society organized on the principles of an exchange economy. and he could not accept intuitionism (Oakes 1975:24). i.

for example.79 of hypotheses. but in terms of its deviating from one or several idealized ’pure’ pattems(s) to which it could meaningfully be related. conditioned by certain specific factors .Those phenomena the construction aims to give which interest us as cultural phenomena are interesting to us wüh respect to very different kinds oj evaluative ideas to which we relate them...using the problem whether medieval society was based on &dquo.) understandable . rationalization of the conduct of life . Whether the a society which is organized empirical-1ústorical course oj development was actuaUy identical wüh Downloaded fromcan bms. the most varied criteria can be applied to the selection of the traüs which are to enter into the construction of an ideal-typical view of a particular culture.njlux of precious metals.sagepub. increasing population. limited land. i. discrete. construct only by using . more or less present and occasionally absent concrete individual phenomena. It is not a description of reality but ü WlambigUOUS means of expression to such a description. (1904/1949:90-91) Empirical phenomena was research attempting to understand social to locate observed events or actions with one or more ideal types. Weber gave a vivid example how ideal (&dquo.facts&dquo. but each of which however claims that ü is a representation of the ’idea’ of a capüalist culture.for the correctness of the construct is not in question here construct a pwe ideal picture of the sruft.. not as a specimen of a category of phenomena was an event or action understood.An ideal type isfonned by the one-sided accentuation of one or more points of view and by the synthesis of a great many diffuse. rent.from a handicraft to a capüalist economic organization. utopias of t1ús sort can be worked out. anive at the theoretical conclusion that in on strict ’handicraft’ principles. which are arranged according to tlwse one-sidedly emphasized viewpoints into a Wlÿied analYtical construct (Gedankenbild).. of which none is like another. types economy.handicrafi&dquo.. 2013 t1ús the constructed be investigated one.. He in research made social events explained: One can.g.. and none of w_hich can be observed in empirical realüy as an actually existing economic system.e.It is possible or rather ü must be accepted as certain that numerous. one can . Inasmuch as the ’points of view’ from which they can become significant for us are very at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. indeed a very great many. That is. From t1ús perhaps. the only source of capüal acCWTlLÙation can be growtd.

If the ideal type were ’correctly’ constructed and the actual course of events did not correspond to that predicted by the ideal type. (2) is codetermined in its course through this relatedness. this was why rationality. Possibly spurred by Simmel’s Georg attempt in 1908 to determine categories (aprioris) of social life as well as knowledge in society. And f the ideal were constructed in a hewisticaUy ’ideal’ way .g. is related to the behavior of others.pure&dquo. epitomized in the &dquo. namely. Weber returned to the problem of sociology’s Verstehen as an interpretive method.sagepub. for that Downloaded from bms. In the meantime. type ( 1904 / 1949:101-2) Nine years at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. he engaged in a discussion of categories of interpretive sociology.external) relationships of action.. the hypothesis that medieval society was not in certain respects a strictly ’ha.dicraft’ type of society would be proved. had a delimited topic and its methodological principle was to understand action with reference to rationality.whether and in what way this could occur in our example wiU be entirely disregarded here . he had published a number of essays dealing with criticism of specific economic or psychological theories of his time (e.lnterpretiue sociology makes distinctions in ternis of the typical meaningful (above aLL.n.if a common principle of orientation was shared by all concerned. 2013 . He clarified: armamentarium of Interpretive sociology. But now he focused on the sociological inquiry as such. after he had completed most first-draft versions of his voluminous studies on how systematic religious conduct of life was related to the emergence of capitalism as epitomy of rationalization in the Western world. and thus (3) can be intelligibly explained in terms of this (subjectively) intended meaning. he area. could best be communicated and understood . empirical phenomena could be held when they were judged and explicated in terms of their more or less deviating therefrom. he realized. Karl Knies. - Action specificaUy significant for interpretive sociology wi. Eduard Meyer). he stated (anticipating his Basic Terms of Sociology (1920)) dealt with meaningful action of individuals in society. now reckoned.. to be sure. behavior that: (1) in terms of the subjectiuely intended meaning of the actor. Meaning. Means-end rationality of action. represented an idealized standard against which.80 as a heuristic device for the comparison of the ideal type and the facts’. type of means-end rationality. was the frame of reference for scientific Verstehen. Verstehen sociology. in an intersubjectively plausible way. but also with institutions’ patterned normative frameworks for collective and individual action. action. in particular.LL guide the inuestigation into a path leading to more precise understanding of the non-handicraft components of medieval society in their peculiar characteristics and their historical sign’ficance.

of course.81 reason. instrumental rationality as an ideal type in relation to what is psychologically understandable. On the basis of such presuppositions..pure&dquo.te’. This could be the guise of ideal types .thus repeating that his standpoint was neither nomothetic nor idiographic but incorporated and transcended both views .com at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11.certain hypothetical courses of events. it does not necessarily coincide with subjectiue rational action. Weber asserted. that is. models of the dynamics of events envisaging how a phenomenon or social issue would develop under &dquo.type in relation to empmcat action. The other was objectiuely correct rationality.Objectiuely correct rationality serves sociology as an ideal. He also emphasized that they rarely coincided: he wrote: Though the real course of an action may in fact generally approximate the objectively correct type. he explained. he clarified that Verstehen was closely related to and could be seen as one form of explanation. it would then proceed to measure Downloaded from bms. action. he went on to distinguish between two types of rationality that could sociologically explain a phenomenon. Cautioning his reader against any simplistic view of causality in social life . Lee.idealized&dquo. Weber made it clear that these two types of rationality were both important when a sociologist attempted to explain a social phenomenon. the causaUy relevant irrationalities (different in each leveo can be established for the pwpose of causal attribution. empirical research had to presuppose . (1913/ 1981:155157) From this vantage point. rational action based on collectively valid experience established over extended periods of history or proved by scientific research or other reliable evidence that safeguarded the objective correctness of certain action forms in certain situations. when ideal types were understood as hypotheses. was what sociological explanation attempted to establish. circumstances (1913/ 1981:157). factually objective correct rationality. rational meaning orientation of actors investigated by the sociologist who wished to understand their motives as well as doings. 2013 . instmmentaUy rational action serves as an enabling us to assess the signiftcance of the irrational ( 1913 / 1981:152-153) However. action oriented toward clearly perceived ends and toward means consciously chosen as ’adequa. as we ideal type.he emphasized that causality.. &dquo. This related to the rationality of social action in the two respects of subjectively perceived and objectively correct rationality.sagepub. Through comparison with the ideal type. that is. the meaningful as an ideal type in relation to ’meaningless’ action. that is. that is. shall see. One was subjectiue means-end rationality. For both..

The former included a revision as well as an extension of the ideal-type approach outlined in his earlier writings.lly pure type of rational action. It was to be published after his death under the title of Economy and Society (1922). Basic Sociological Terms introduced the notion rationality and suggested its use for ideal types similarly to what had of he in explicated in the earlier essay on sociology.82 the divergence between the ideal types (chosen by the researcher as heuristic device) and observed phenomena. the valid ’norm’ is used to construct an ideal type. Along what were Initially. He now stated decisively: the categories of Verstehen For the purposes of a typological scientific analysis it is conuenient to treat all irrationaL aflecmally determined elements of behavior as factors of deuiation from a conceptu. the constructed ideal type is inferred from the latter.Basic Concepts of Sociology&dquo. in the posthumously collated book. only one case of the construction of ideal types.rational validity&dquo. an expediently chosen ’incorrect type’ can also serve the purposes of the investigation. or statistical data. to what degree an objectiuely correct type becomes useful as an ideal type depends on the ualue relationships&dquo. for the general concept of sociology at any rate. For example a panic on the stock exchange can be most conueniently analysed by attempting to determmejtrst what the Downloaded from bms. Logically. he had completed most of his magnum opus under the working title of Economy and the Social Orders and Powers (one volume in a series entitled Outline of Social Economics). He said about the use of ideal types to ascertain &dquo. of analysis: of the ’objectively correct type’ is. . seven years later. dealt with Basic Sociological Terms (the original headline in German was &dquo. In the first case. the empirical material is not formed through categories of ’rational ualidity’. but rather. he stated again the general principles of sociological inquiry.). 2013 . but for such a type the discrepancy from the ’valid’ remains decisive.sagepub. a few months before his life ended prematurely when he died of pneumonia.a. It was laid out under the title of Methodological Foundations and comprised nearly the entire subchapter devoted to The Definition of Sociology and Social Action. with no difference in at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11.of the researcher (1913/1981:157-8) The use this line of thought.Basic Sociological Categories of Economic Activity&dquo. And throughout. By 1920. Even in the first case. even though it is often a case of the utmost importance. Its introductory parts. It makes no differences logically whether an ideal type is constructed from relationships that are meaningful or from those devoid of meaning. howeuer. empirical fact is refined to a ’pure’ type.) followed by Sociological Categories of Economic Action (the headline in the original German was &dquo. in the second case.

At the same time. four) types of now distinguished that could be understood through ideal social action of rationality types . traditional rationality. He phrased this idea as follows: a science which is concerned with the subjectiue meaning of explanation requires a grasp of the complex of meaning in an actual course of understandable action thus interpreted belongs. he went on to say that it could be found in the &dquo.interpretive grasp of the meaning&dquo. (This involves a departure from ordinary usage. which (1922/1968:9) From there. only for the first two of these and separated traditional and affectual action as non-rational but intersubjectively understandable nonrational orientations. it is then possible to introduce the irrational components as accounting for the observed deuiations from this hypothetical course. had led him to differentiate between a substantive focus on rationality and a methodological one.means-end rationality. which speaks of intention in this sense only in the case of rationaUy purposiue action). to be sure.concepts and ’laws’ of pure economic &dquo.. value rationality. or plan of action. and they could therefore be subsumed under the rationality label.83 of action would hale been if it had not been influenced by affects. the question was raised anew what sociological meant. on the methodological side.The construction of a purely rational course of action in such cases serves the sociologist as a type (ideal type) which has the merit of clear understandability and lack of at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11.scientifically Downloaded from bms. Because they allowed for Verstehert. that became understandable in terms of &dquo. he between three (or. However. For action. His extensive studies on historical structures and processes of power and authority during the years after 1910 and particularly after 1916 and also his work on the sociology of the city. incLuding that also of the relevant meaning complexes. course irrational (1922/1968:6). (1922/1968:9). and emotional rationality (as translated by Talcott Parsons). He gave two answers. all these types of social action rendered intended meaning understandable. the subjectiue meaning of the action. sociology of law..the average of. About the latter.. even where the processes are largely aflectual. they were (1) the individual actor in a historical context. all different action types facilitated an intersubjectively effective explanation by a person’s motives. could be undertaken. (3) the explanation formulated pure type (an ideal type) of a common phenomenon&dquo. 2013 . One was that he outlined three contexts in which an &dquo. will be called the intended meaning.sagepub. the original German used the term &dquo. etcetera. On the substantive side. he now introduced a new aspect.sociological mass phenomenon&dquo.rationality&dquo. In aU such cases. rather. the actually intended meaning&dquo. (2) a collectivity accomplishing a &dquo. or an approximation of.

He wrote: what was if only by Ideal type(s) . The second and vastly more important stage was interpretive adequacy. were not entirely beyond observable in social reality but could occasionally.. furthermore. whether we deal with overt or subjective processes. it is still an incomprehensible statistical probability. the translated text refers as follows to the issue of interpretive adequacy (the German term is Sinnadaquanz): Using course A correct causal interpretation of a concrete course of action is arriued at when the overt action and the motives have both been correctly apprehended and at the same time their relation has become meaning fully comprehensible. and even then there is usually only an approximation to the ideal type. as sometimes on the stock exchange. On the other hand. be found in empirical cases. however. (1922/1968:9) The other answer outlined two stages or phases of adequacy of explanation . it were completely and unequivocally directed to a single end. state what course a given type of human action would take if it were strictly rational. that is.the latter usually being represented by a probabilistic statement that linked two or more events together (1922/1968:11-12).sagepub. approximation. It meant that an explanation should contain no errors. 2013 . even the most perfect adequacy on the level of meaning has causal significance from a sociological point of view only insofar as there is some kind of proof for the existence of a probability that action in fact nornially takes the course which has been held to be meaningfu1. one stage was causal adequacy. una&dquo. action takes exactly this course only in unusual cases. the majdmtzatton of economic advantage.. If adequacy in respect to meaning is at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. Apart from the criteria that an individual course of conduct had to be reconstructed in a way that was &dquo. ( 1922 / 1968:12) Downloaded from bms. confusions.correct causal interpretation of a concrete of action&dquo. the linking together of subsequent events or actions by a rationale or an idea or a principle of orientation that could render the observed phenomena meaningful and therefore make them plausible to the observing sociologist.. These. or inconsistencies defying existing knowledge . In reality.. the term &dquo. A correct causal interpretation of typical action means that the process which is claimed to be typical is shown to be both adequately grasped on the level of meaning and at the same time the interpretation is to some degree causally adequate.84 theory&dquo.that both had to be attained. then no matter how high the degree of uniformity and how precisely its probability can be numerically determined.subjectively adequate (or ’adequate on the level of meaning’)&dquo.ffected by errors or emotional factors and if.

namely. ° Reconstructing Weber’s methodology as a procedure of data analysis means to rearrange it as a sequence of three analytical steps. and that of Dieter Henrich on The Unity of Weber’s Methodology of Social Science (1952) which focuses on Weber’s image of rational man as an anthropological foundation of his thought. two philosophical works are of benefit. Weber outlined a methodology of Verstehen through ideal types. In particular. of the empirical work of Economy and Society had been completed.sagepub. in social science was written in the early 1900s and some ten years after he had done his first empirical work. 2013 . Although His ideas can be rephrased outlining a three-step procedure of ideal-type methodology: it may redirect interpretive methodology in contemporary qualitative research. The authoritative description was given in 1920 . They are: Downloaded from bms. more differentiated and STEPS OF WEBERIAN METHODOLOGY it is true that Weber. he demonstrated how ideal types were realized by economic research but generally showed how the social scientist makes sense of historical data while at the same time avoiding the pitfalls of nomothetic as well as idiographic analysis. Introducing his reader to these findings. Over this period.after he had all but completed the work of his lifetime.85 social To summarize: Mainly in three of his writings on the logic of science between 1904 and 1920. it throughout his elaborate presentation of knowledge about society in his studies on the sociology of religion and in his major opus. The basic idea was that ideal could epitomize rationality as a principle of intersubjective types knowledge in social research. he detailed how ideal types were constructed. Economy and Society. if not all. When reconstructing his threestep analytical procedure.objectivity&dquo. in his various empirical did not use ideal-type methodology. His empirical research projects preceded two of his three manuscripts on how ideal-type construction characterized sociological analysis. secondary literature proves resourceful to some extent. he made ample use of projects. his concepts changed to a certain extent whereas his approach became more focused. This idea was reformulated twice until it reached a definitive formulation in the Basic Sociological Terms written after most. In it. But his first essay on the topic focusing on &dquo. that of Wemer Bienfait on Webers Theory of Historical Knowledge (1930).com at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11.

86 Downloaded from at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11.sagepub. 2013 .

verifying a hypothetical course of events stated in an ideal type through its comparison with a concrete course of events that happens over time would be desirable.87 (1) Comprehensiveness of knowledge grounds In 1920. Weber asserts. (2) Identifying indispensable elements and eliminating others In general. researchers are frequently unable to make systematic comparisons between mass phenomena. must be based on comprehensive efforts to obtain every evidence available in the literature. (1952:85). it would be best if ideal types could be used to understand the history of society as it unfolds itself in the present and future (see below on his views on the topic of verification). this does not allow for arbitrary possibilities. inasmuch as sociology answers to the rules of &dquo. In any event. that no available knowledge (preferably scientific knowledge) contradicts the hypothetical assumption about a phenomenon contained in its conceptual representation as an ideal-type. For instance. In this vein. some social-science topics would make it difficult anyway to produce explanatory evidence through observation of historical process. Weber concedes. Furthermore. but not an infinite number of. So the researcher has to find a viable alternative to the optimal proof which frequently cannot be attained. This means that the researcher cannot observe in actual historical life whether or not concrete events match anticipations derived from his ideal-type at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. But in the overwhelming majority of research endeavours the social scientist has no opportunity to observe over a long period of time events and processes actually happening in social life. Henrich insists that knowledge in itself limits the arbitrariness of the formation of ideal types.Science as a Vocation&dquo. which Weber found indispensable for the connection Downloaded from bms. Indeed. Like any other approach to historical insight. therefore.sagepub. the psychological experimentation on the sources of subjective meaning formation. ideal types of a given phenomenon. and explain them using ideal types that were formed prior to the longitudinal observation. You may form many. He writes: Although ideal-type construction is a ’transfomuuion’ of reality. Weber sees ideal types as setting hypotheses of potential courses of events. (1917) demanding serious pursuit of knowledge. What goes into these. The number of possible ideal types is set by the phenomenon itself. The first criterion for ideal-type construct validity is. 2013 . ideal-type construction relies on real events.

as did Weber . test). (Once such chance causes have been eliminated). concerns experiment makes as defining elements of the type concept which are vital for phenomenon (as is found through the &dquo. it must be left out. are eliminated from the ideal-type notion.e.thought away&dquo. (1922/1968:10). He writes (taking the perspective . however. i. availing himself of a second-best opportunity to test the validity of his ideal-type notion(s). its aim is to test the quality of an idealtype process notion of a particular phenomenon for the purpose of satisfying a special knowledge at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. would be the optimal knowledge basis on the links between subjective meaning formation and objective institutionalized reality structures.. The mental sure that the ideal-type notion contains only elements proved to be indispensable.thinking away& sequence of events what were the deviating causes that produced the individual outcome under consi.88 between subjective and objective meaning construction. To be sure.of a chain of motivation and working out the course of action which would then possibly ensue&dquo. confrontation of the remaining causes with the factua.consists in thinking away certain elements. those which when & revealed to be not necessary. It would represent the society in its authentic logic of concatenated institutional facts as they were linked with individual free will. In this situation. the researcher takes to the mental experiment (the translation reads &dquo. this mental exercise involves each element of an ideal-typical process-notion. of each element. do not in their absence change the imagined developmental nature of the phenomenon.imaginary experiment&dquo. This testing is done by the separate &dquo. The mental experiment &dquo.from the effect or outcome ’backwards’ to its causal antecedents in the cause-effect chain): In a historical causal chain no cause belongs there f it can be omitted or changed in (the sociologist’s) imagination without elect on the outcome.sagepub. To be sure.epitomized in the ideal type .l historical effects can determine for a particular histori. its elements.thinking away&dquo.deration. such cause is elective merely by chance. 1922/ 1968:10). Redundant elements. the Downloaded from bms. i. Bienfait clarifies that if any of the presumably causal antecedents of an outcome of the hypothesized social process . Only those elements are left The second therefore. its composition. Such experimentaly proven evidence. he had to admit did not yet exist and was therefore not yet available. (1930:33) criterion for ideal-type construct validity.e. 2013 . Each is to be tested separately with a view on whether or not it is indispensable for the development of the phenomenon under investigation.

Henrich takes a The ideal type is a means to understand the given reality of culture. Henrich allows for verification of ideal-types not only by historical experience which requires longterm observation but also by research which investigates whether observational data match the hypothetical image of a course of events or process phenomenon. Particularly if it could avail itself of psychological proof experimentally linking meaning and structures on a micro as well as a macro level. (1952:92) was accounting for the necessary as well as the sufficient antecedents explaining the features of a given social phenomenon. Henrich writes: conspicuously verification. verification were the best criterion for ideal-type validity. he admits. Abstraction’ as it exists in the ideal type denotes the expectation of potential uerification. 2013 Weber’s intention was to to be done by retrospective causally explain social at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11.89 (3) Verification in social-historical reality Weber leaves no doubt that verification of the process contained in the ideal-type construct of a course of social action is most desirable. As knowledge about reality it depends on the degree in which imagined relationships can be found in the reality. Tbe abstraction of the ideal type is indeed grounded in a selection from given reality but this selection will not be arbitrary. But it wants to see whether and to what degree the imagined relationships are also present in the given reality. the ideal type will proceed in a way that it is probable to find relationships in reality which pursue tendencies equal or similar to the abstracted analytical perspectives.verification in the limited number of cases of mass phenomena which can be statistically described and unambiguously interpreted&dquo. there is &dquo. hypothesis However. In any case. Unfortunately. some less satisfactory tests safeguarding verification For instance. this does not suggest that it intends to take the reality thought in this construction as the given reality. (1922/1968:10).sagepub. This . Such verification depends on the nature of the phenomenon in question but also on the availability of statistical data. When choosing from the given multiplicity. are possible. Henrich proposes to see the ideal type as a Downloaded from bms. Whereas Weber is self-conscious about broader view than Weber apparently does. such verification is rare if at all possible. If it gives a construction under perspectives. verification occurs through the historical-social process bearing out the ideal-type based predictions of potential development of social or mass phenomena.

As such it is tied to the knowledge interest of the researcher. Through such juxtaposition. To summarize: The three criteria for ideal-type validity. But the aim of ideal-type understanding is not just to render plausible the typical (i. type to understand the individuality of each and every particular cultural event or phenomenon. which Social In his writings. therefore.g.90 hypothetical or model conceptualization of a relationship or phenomenon. individual socio-cultural phenomena are understood with the means of social Downloaded from bms. form which can be held against the empirical relationships from which it originally was abstracted. he describes the juxtaposition of ideal types and social life as confrontation (1904/ 1949:110).). 2013 . which Weber and Henrich address as perspective or perspectivist (and the researcher needs continuously to reflect his or her own perspectivism). then. he at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. The third criterion for ideal-type validity. the most rational) phenomena. he addresses the problem at two points in time are sixteen years apart.sagepub. representing the relationship or phenomenon in its &dquo.pure&dquo. it serves as a viable tool to understand reality. that is. Its aim is to explain the cultural phenomena in society which are individual and/or unique. an experience test in the guise of what Weber calls Erfal~uungsprobe) . the ideal type can be verified. Through confrontation. composition made up of indispensable elements as proven through the think-away test (mental experiment). so to speak. Testing ideal types to secure their validity has partly involved to hold them against empirically based facts. and verification as proven through juxtaposition between the formulated ideal type and the reality as shown in social-science data. Perspectivism does not jeopardize the verification and potential validity of an ideal type if the researcher is conscious of the cultural relativity cum significance of his or her conceptual approach.pure&dquo.. statistical or otherwise (ideally the reality is real life in history constituting. In ’Objectiuity’ in Social Science and Policy (the original German title is ’The ’Objectivity’ of Social- Policy and Social-Science Knowledge&dquo. are Step 3: Corifronting the ideal type with observed individual cultural events Through steps 1 and 2. but he wishes to use the notion of the &dquo. concepts have been formed which are capable of explaining an observed reality of social life. is its verisimilitude against reality which Weber addresses as verification. now Weber is not content to ascertain what is typical in society. historicity or empirical relevance as proven through the knowledge basis. That is.

i. This presupposes that various forms of a social structure are copresent. In his analysis of historical material there. the individual event can be grasped in its individuality through such confrontation (see also Gerhardt 1983: 184-212). In Economy and Society (published 1922).opposite&dquo. Weber asserts. typical course of action. (1904/1949:94). the procedure of explanation is that genetic reconstructions is done which avails itself of ideal-type constructs (which. can be analysed when certain phenomena are under investigation. particular individual phenomena. see also Burger 1976. representation of the phenomenon type which is postulated in the ideal-type notion.. Huff 1984. Gerhardt 1986b). are conceptualized as &dquo. For instance.pure&dquo.91 science. The outcome is that &dquo. may have to be explained by their belonging to different basic structural types. In this type of confrontation. or &dquo.pure&dquo. structures of the law. To understand a particular historical-empirical phenomenon means of genetic concepts& at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. Downloaded from bms. Buddhism in Europe would have to be explained in relation to its &dquo. To take an example.historical individualities&dquo. and uses it as a reference point (epitomized in an ideal-type notion) to explain the particular process of a subdominant or minor structure which has its own logic of type orientation accounting for its development. In the analytical step of confrontation. but it may also be applied to empirical data under the auspices of &dquo. With some phenomena. The explanation is based on the observation whether and to what degree and in what way a particular phenomenon deviates from the &dquo. he holds the dominant structure constant. Such analysis proceeds &dquo. leaving niches of &dquo. explanation may even suggest that they would not exist were the reality all-pervasive that is being subsumed under the dominant-type reality.historically unique configurations or their individual components&dquo.sagepub. the conceptual construct (ideal type) is held against the experience or observed reality. or structures of the political authority of the state which co-exist at a given point in time or in a given era.exotic&dquo. Weber proceeds in this way to deal with the forms of law and also the forms of state authority .chapters in Economy and Society. genetic reconstruction can explain a particular cultural phenomenon as a specific event or course of action.anachronistic&dquo. he introduced a second type of confrontation. 2013 . In other words.the category of objective possibility&dquo. (1904/1949:93). By &dquo.. Christianity in Europe whose dominant existence is nevertheless not all-pervasive. When the latter is depicted in the &dquo. so to speak. in turn. that it is explained by comparing it with others which may belong to opposite types. full-fledged representations of the investigated phenomenon somewhere along the line of historical process development (s)) (Weber 1904/ 1949:100-102. he adopts a method of confrontation that may be called the use of contrasting variations of social forms (Gerhardt 1986b:58-62).relating the empirical data to an ideal limiting case&dquo. then. (1904/1949:93).

&dquo.lose&dquo. and the other concerns the time-flow nature of the data elicited in qualitative research and represented in their interpretation. One concerns the focal importance of the case as elementary unit of data material and its interpretation. and ethnography (&dquo. Two of the bestknown approaches. Given this knowledge interest. or they satisfy their interest in objective structure in single-case interpretation which finds that the one case &dquo. structures are usually defined and found in the guise of. the caseness of their data in the process of data processing and analysis.means everything&dquo. That multicase generalizations are needed for a valid study of case patterns will be argued below in this part of this paper devoted to an outline of ideal-type analysis. But. If the researcher’s explanatory interest is directed at individual members of society. In order to translate qualitative research. The reason which I see is that these approaches either underestimate or overestimate the value of individual case evidence.objective hermeneutics&dquo.. This use is such that.grounded theory&dquo. subjective meaning construction is proposed as the singly legitimate access to analysing social at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11..) are discussed briefly to document the importance of systematic multi-case material in qualitative research. mass the unambiguously interpreted &dquo. on the other hand. the individual case is of pivotal importance.statistically described and phenomena&dquo. They either &dquo. none of the approaches which are customary in contemporary qualitative research actually manage to establish a systematically valid connection between their case material and their findings concerning social structures.definition of the situation&dquo. Downloaded from bms. 2013 .sagepub. or at their subjectively experienced meanings or action patterns emanating therefrom. the case epitomizing individual actions and experiences must be at the center of interpretive procedures. Research endeavours are often geared toward structural entities which are presumed to determine individual action. But if the research aims at individuals’ &dquo. which Weber invoked. two The use which qualitative research usually makes of case material is problematic. for instance.92 THE METHODOLOGY OF IDEAL-TYPE ANALYSIS How can these Weberian ideas enter into and be useful for modern-type qualitative research? Weber’s methodology into one of intermediate thoughts should be introduced. on the one hand.

1979. Garz and Kraimer 1991). is not case &dquo. the problem of explanatory scope in sociology remains widely open (Emerson 1983. Ethnography referring to Clifford Geertz’s &dquo.93 From this vantage point.. individual case material is used only as illustrative evidence documenting various types or aspects of the BSP’s or trajectory patterns. loses touch with the comprehensive range of meaning diversity of the case material which it originally collects and on which it presumably bases its generalizations. But then a leap is made when the researcher strives to discover so-called Basic Social Processes (BSP’s. yielding an increasingly informative view on a range of cases whose similarity and dissimilarity can be seen. or using a very small number of intensively interpreted case-texts. In this way. frequently attempts to depict social reality through individual-case evidence. The latter is also deemed Downloaded from bms. no intersubjective check of the validity of the findings is possible (except for intuitive plausibility). first analytical steps analysis. &dquo. 2013 . Glaser 1978). &dquo.thick description&dquo.grounded theory&dquo.deep structures&dquo.Grounded are a give-and-take between case selection and case-material coding. orientation to the methodology proposed by satisfactory. an interpretive approach which has recently become fashionable in Germany (Oevermann et al. It detects &dquo. A similar problem besets &dquo. They are taken to represent in a wholesale manner the essential features of a social phenomenon (social process) or a course-of-action (trajectory pattern). finds itself. Moreover.objective hermeneutics&dquo.sagepub. also addressed as patterned trajectories (Strauss 1987). while the individual cases are not envisaged or referred to as systematic reference material. It may be added that the methodology of ethnography is no way out of the dilemma in which &dquo. Whereas this often yields striking findings documenting how richly connected the various items in case-texts at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. Since the material on which the results are based is presented not in systematic richness but only in the truncated and haphazard form of text excerpts. They are what is usually portrayed in the research report.grounded theory&dquo.grounded theory&dquo. Rather. Atkinson 1990). It starts with a clear material but then drifts into a generalizing individual action level. The reader (research recipient) becomes unable to follow himself of herself the process of abstraction leading from the case evidence to the more inclusive event patterns which eventually constitute the findings. The way out would be to fully document and systematically rely on the case material during all stages of data procedure which obscures the theory’s&dquo. the procedure of data interpretation remains unsatisfactory. of meaning in interview texts from individual cases analysed line by line (word episode by word episode) by a research team who ascertain and evaluate the totality of available and potentially adequate textual meanings before they settle down with an authoritative version.

some hitherto intractable problems of explanation in qualitative research may be solved.invented&dquo. but in sociology a third approach is needed to make sense of these data.ltiplicity of cases is essential.sagepub. Using his approach. or historicity. he found. To sum up my first intermediate thought connecting Weberian Verstehen with ideal-type methodology in social research: To appreciate Weber’s principle that sociology aims at systematically understanding culturally individual events or courses of action means that it is necessary to recognize the importance of case material.really&dquo. the ideal type because he needed a sociological conceptual tool to deal with what essentially are historical data: they may be ordered as nomothetic or idiographic evidence in economics (both were unsatisfactory to him).lost&dquo. Only that a wide range of cases is investigated enables the researcher to draw comparisons. 2013 . What needs to be understood is the essential historicity of all sociological data inasmuch as they portray social at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. Temporality.objective hermeneutics&dquo. of social science data is a condition of social research that Weber takes seriously. Therefore. and a single case is taken as epitomy of a structure which can be made visible through the &dquo. but. what is lacking is a basis for relating it systematically to the multiplicity of cases. And. only one case is usually used. while the individual case is clearly visible here. means. The other thought which needs to be introduced in order to appreciate the value of Weber’s work for modem qualitative research concerns the nature of the data elicited through empirical studies. to be sure. and also to safeguard that they allow for the necessary scope of variation of concrete individualities in his or her data base. No systematic follow-up is conducted which could corroborate the evidence extracted from the single case. the answer for social research is twofold.94 authentic inasmuch as the majority of members of the research team perceive in their discussion what a textual item &dquo. One is that the case material is &dquo. in addition. caseness of research evidence must mean that mu. To recollect how crucial this condition is means to learn from Weber’s solution by adopting his ideal-type analytical approach for modem qualitative research. Downloaded from bms. but if the lessons contained therein are learned. it is the latter which make up society as it is the topic of sociology. of group interpretation. which sanctifies single cases into quasi absolute evidence of covert meaning spheres. it should be based on case material that is presented in full as the foundation for abstractions and generalizations. and no opportunity exists for rejecting the results arrived at through single-case exegesis. Weber &dquo. in the process of generalization whereupon case material deteriorates into illustrative excerpts. For one. The other is that cases are overinterpreted into representations of objective structures. This suggests that two mistakes be avoided. In this endeavour. If both these mistakes are avoided.

They are historical inasmuch as they picture lifehistory dynamics. cohort. and period effects. In the wake of Glen Elder’s &dquo. Weber proposed the ideal type to take care precisely of this historicity of the data. (1974) followed a host of studies documenting three types of temporal effects impinging simultaneously upon the reality that is represented in sociological data. has so far refrained from adapting its analytical perspective to that of these approaches. trajectory patterns are not operationalized as differential combinations of effects emanating from ageing (the individual’s moving through the stages of the life cycle). The connecting Downloaded from bms. and period effects). and data analysis can proceed to explain it in terms of structural contexts and pattern dynamics. so-called quantitative research has taken seriously the ideal of the historicity of sociological data some two decades ago. The time-flow presupposition which is customary in Event-History-Analysis and Lifecourse-Dynamics Analysis. and as such they are placed in the triple context of history (age. sociology could take seriously its interest in the structure of social institutions and also remain aware of the fact that knowledge is essentially perspectivist and therefore constructive. Elder 1985). and explanation through Lifecourse Dynamics (Blossfeld et al.’s notion of trajectory. is implicit in biographical research and explicit in &dquo. for instance. If these insights are honoured. Through ideal-type knowledge.95 To be sure. he suggested.grounded theory&dquo. They refer to the flow of time but they do not analyse their material in terms of the dynamics of what preceeds and what succeeds a certain event or stage as an individual or as a typical experience. 2013 . For example. hardship in times of war or affluence in times of economic boom). it appears. 1983. Such explanation can fulfill the requirements of causal adequacy while it satisfies the conditions of interpretive adequacy.Children of the Great Depression&dquo. But timeflow or historicity is not systematically explored in these qualitative approaches. They are age effects. a qualitative data collection can elicit life-course sequentiality. cohort participation (the individual’s belonging to a cohort of similarly socialized individuals moving through the history of a society). To sum up my second intermediate thought connecting Weberian Verstehen with ideal-type methodology in case pattern analysis: Biographical data on which qualitative research is frequently based are of the nature which Weber states for all sociological data. Two analytical approaches have emerged to honour this time-bound quality of social life as found in the data: they are Event-History-Analysis. Biographical or lifehistory data epitomize the historical quality of social process by documenting individuals’ participation in time-bound patterns of social life. cohort at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. and period experience (all individuals simultaneously being exposed to similar effects of. But qualitative research.sagepub.

Its three analytical steps. Linking the two main methodological requirements for qualitative research. The three-step data analysis relies on extensive data processing but the latter is not discussed in the present paper (see. The respondent’s individual life-course dynamics should be made visible in data processing and should not be &dquo. should be related to the flow of the individuals’ life typified constructs .96 point between the objective and the subjective worlds. In the last section of the paper will be reprocuced the main analytical steps of one of the two major studies which our research team has conducted using the methodology outlined here. age cohorts. For instance. etc. the question is one of interpretive adequacy based on causal adequacy. however. Understanding a case should be based on the researcher’s interest in the time-flow and the phase structure of the biographical process portrayed in the data. etc. and also between social reality and research evidence. Presupposing that social structures are temporal in that they constitute social process and that social process equals structures that become effective in socio-historial reality. two qualitative analysis.lost&dquo. 1993:216-276). the age structure. in data analysis. at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. stage should be related in the flow of social process characterizing life systematic in society. One should be that temporality and historicity of data should be recognized when picturing the individual case(s). 2013 . are now described briefly. The flow of dynamics in an individual case.. producing event sequences. His reflections on explanation in social science can thus be adopted for the methodology of qualitative research. the question should be asked how the historical-social time flow impinges upon the individual case(s). Thus. Such relationship might be established through systematic comparison of case-flow dynamics between groups belonging to different social-class backgrounds. the three steps may be outlined in detail of which ideal-type analysis consists. a or generally biographical patterns manner to vantage point. qualitative research whose aim is to understand what is going on can avail itself of explanatory Verstehen as it was introduced by Weber.sagepub. requirements should be met. Gerhardt et al. data on individuals’ participation in the class structure. derived from Weberian Verstehen methodology. therefore. are ideal types which serve as orientation for action in social life but also . He showed how sociological Verstehen attains explanatory power by using concepts that denote an idealized typified image of a social process and by then using these concepts as reference units to account for what is special in ordinary cases of social life. This is to show how idealFrom this some Downloaded from the researcher to understand systematically the rationale of his In historical-sociological data data.

As a limiting instance of qualitative analysis can Downloaded from bms. depends on the study’s knowledge interest. 1986a: 87-91. and not just the first step in a more elaborate process of data analysis. This generalized picture of the flow of events and actions over the entire observation period of each particular case may be broken down into one or more partial reconstructions. What is important is that the entire flow of events and actions covering the full observation period is entered into the case reconstruction.97 type analysis Weberian is closely connected with but also partly goes beyond thoughts. The latter are devoted to case dynamics concerning development. partial case reconstructions may be done by separately putting into sequential order the items of the educational and of the occupational biographies for each individual case. (What should be avoided. The case reconstruction(s) then is the qualitative data interpretation conducted in a particular study. Which form of case reconstruction is chosen in a particular research project. To be at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. 2013 . It goes without saying that case reconstructions should use the same format for each case in the study population (see Gerhardt 1983: 184-193. or which he or she (or they) may influence or structure himself of herself (or themselves). epitomize the social worlds of those who tell them to a sociologist-interviewer). Its result may then be a number of reconstructed biographies that are being retold under a given theme.sagepub. however. These may be circumstances into which the individual(s) may be drawn. This is what frequently figures as ethnography of a social phenomenon. biographies. is that from one or a few biographies is ’interferred’ a structure that is deemed objective. a particular dimension of the case To take an example: A study may investigate the link between educational and occupational achievement through qualitative data that are represented in the respondents’ narratives. Step 1: Case Reconstruction The first step of data analysis is case reconstruction. 289-294). Gerhardt. case reconstruction when done in detailed fashion become an end in itself. The case reconstruction could consist of rendering into a time-bound order the data showing how the two biographical developments are intertwined in an individual biography. Alternatively. It consists of picturing every case in the research material as a flow of events and actions. to be sure. Borgetto and Rockenbauch 1993: 236-252.

98 Downloaded from at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11.sagepub. 2013 .

. for instance. Stage 2.. cases) found. they would be understood to deviate most from the cases which are most typical or most characteristic of the patterns.. ideal types must be The case material has been ordered into clusters representing empirical types.. For instance. starting point for ideal-type construction is that the implicitly postulated in the research objective for the conceivably best possible case.higher prestige occupation&dquo.sagepub.. that these cases are seen as marginal to the respective pattems. In terms of meaning structures thus invoked.___.. -’ -- Downloaded from bms.secondary school .. :. Either The conditions are one are may hypothesize that one’s ideas of education-occupation link best represented in a case where low-grade education leads to 1&dquo. and it is from there that analysis proceeds..= =.~~-. such &dquo.....mean&dquo.~---~-~----_B ~..-&dquo...pure&dquo. As such they would distinguish between two combinations of educational and occupational achievement which can be found in the data material. cases may also be subsumed under the pattem(s) to which they may appear to be clorest.__1’ -. case clusters can show the two frequent sequences &dquo.k!dJ.odd&dquo.. and the construction of ideal types In the next step of the data analysis.--. In a study investigating educational and occupational achievement.&.99 cases investigated might indeed prove that these cases are some kind of nucleus of patterns which are not represented in the given study material. ...__.2: Case abstraction (&dquo. The case patterns represent different ways how a particular social phenomenon exists. at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11.1-’..formal and skilled occupational training . : : .. or an optimal relationship between the variables.elementary school .r---’ . or &dquo. ..--_.:_- ~’- ~° .--.. 2013 .:_1_1:--.. this would &dquo. These two patterns would then represent empirical types. the following two alternative postulates concerning the optimal case relationship may be formulated...on-the-job-training low-prestige occupation&dquo.

These criteria define what a case must be like that fulfills in optimal fashion the characteristics postulated as indicators of the relationship under investigation. It is in the latter sense that the ideal type represents the idealized (&dquo.pure&dquo. The &dquo. This means that case abstraction reduces the cases to a small number of relevant elements: the latter are selected under the perspective of the research objective (knowledge interest). case is the most clearcut (if not slightly overdrawn) example for the type area concretizing the respective pattern.pure&dquo. at least two of Weber’s three proofs for ideal-type construction are imperative. 2013 .pure&dquo. of reformulating the case dynamics in terms of the few variables relevant for the core hypothesis contained in the research objective. case is typical in that it represents the relationship which the sociologist assumes is typical for the phenomenon. The &dquo. or &dquo. Such optimal case. case’s dynamics show the &dquo. The &dquo. When the criteria are worked out which inform the search for case. but in &dquo. elements are each indispensable.e. The researcher looks for the one case that fits best the criteria of optimal or &dquo. Cases are then condensed into abstract images of the time flow concerning the elements that are analytically relevant in the light of the research objective. separately for those belonging to a pattern of similar cases. Second.ideal&dquo. representation of the relationship which is being investigated. not what was morally superior to or what would be a model for other actions. first.) typicality within a range of like case dynamics. case is more typical for the investigated phenomenon than the other cases contained in the case material. They consist of thinking away each potential element of the ideal type until a combination is arrived at whose the &dquo.lesser&dquo. In comparison to the other cases whose case reconstructions are available.less pure&dquo.pure&dquo. requiring what he calls knowledge test). The &dquo. form.100 Criteria need to be formulated spelling out what is optimal a given research perspective. are looked at. All cases within a pattern are compared with relatively Downloaded from at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. form the relationship contained in or meant by the research objective. these abstracted case images.pure&dquo.pure&dquo. epitomizes in &dquo. form hypothesized for the phenomenon whose explanation is sought. the &dquo.pure&dquo.pure&dquo.pure&dquo. The other cases may also show the phenomenon (as concretized in the pattern).sagepub. Second.pure&dquo. under Case abstraction consists. but what epitomized best a particular field. One is that the selection of the criteria defining the ideal-type case must be based on a broad range of scientific knowledge elucidating the subject area of the research (i. case must fulfill the criteria of optimal representation which are derived from the research objective or knowledge interest. It may be remembered here that Weber called &dquo. mental experiments should be conducted. to be sure.

criterion type of rationality as a reference unit. the idealhas also other characteristics. First. in a more or less typical way (case pattern explanation). These are condensed ideal-type cases characteristic course which show most clearly what of events of the particular pattern is. To be sure. 2013 . for sociological Verstehen of rational action.ordered&dquo. (Process- pattern explanation). social Downloaded from bms.other&dquo.easiest&dquo. This second form of pattern explanation carries out what Weber may have had in mind when he clarified that means-end rationality was &dquo. The characteristics used to understand the dynamics of the ideal-type case may be such mundane sociologically relevant issues as socio- type case economic status (high vs. It may either look at how the case dynamics relate to the ideal-type dynamics. the explanation would look for the issues which. the cases relatively similar to the ideal-type case are looked at. During the comparative stage of ideal-type construction. pattern explanation explores the process of pattern development over time. case or ideal type. elements may be added or left out. the abstracted versions of the cases are used.behave&dquo. occupational etc. were the ideal-type case chosen to represent the worst possible case development .101 each other.went awry&dquo. It takes an &dquo. characteristics. on a case basis as a first step. for this particular case. the Apart from the abstracted optimum-quality features. such as.survival&dquo. The other cases are being &dquo. deriving from this a network of case explanations within a temporal pattern. in the think-away test signifies that they are what defines the &dquo.3: Pattern explanation. low). Eventually. or &dquo. the elements are found whose &dquo. more than any other case investigated. which show into Case pattern explanation: The material used are the patterns parallel case dynamics over time. in this comparison. its particularly positive developmental dynamics. This pattern is then submitted to explanatory inquiry directed by the question what it is in the cases which makes them &dquo. for instance.sagepub.under a given research perspective -. as relatively similar to. Stage 2. status (employment vs. These are now taken into consideration. can explain why the case turned out as bad as it did. They may explain. This longitudinal analysis uses a specially defined notion of rationality as an anchor concept. Alternatively. Pattern explanation can take two different forms. or relatively deviant from the ideal-type case. posing the question: What are their &dquo. unemployment).pure&dquo.arrived at&dquo.operational&dquo. and the think-away test may have to be repeated many at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. how the case &dquo.

the case dynamics in all patterns analysed can be looked at. or gender may turn out to be explanatory factors for the typical case dynamics. in differentiated degrees. which he found easiest as a standard of type Verstehen. in positive as well as negative at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. Then. cases in Process-pattern explanation: The analysis can be based on the longterm development of the range of cases studied. Under a longterm perspective. rationality. income situation. that applies to how the case dynamics proceed over extended periods of the case history (case development). or less and less. That is.sagepub. the cases more and deviating from the ideal-type case are looked at likewise. The same more procedure is followed for each of the different patterns. and also. the antecedents are investigated for the entire range of patterns found in the data. eventually. may be postulated to resemble more and more or less and less . opportunity structures that facilitate or aggravate a case’s chances to reach a certain idealized &dquo. the developmental process which is epitomized in the &dquo. definition. The results are antecedents (facilitating or aggravating contexts) that make understandable the typical or optimal process outcome for each of the various patterns analysed separately.operational&dquo. match of a or Downloaded from bms. The cases within the patterns. using a specific type of rationality as a reference unit. The criterion of evaluation and rationality that is used may represent any &dquo. and for the entire range of case material analysed in the study. state. biographical rationality can here be represented by any plausible and argueable standard of &dquo.pure&dquo. structural contexts such as social class.102 class position. for less than typical case conditions. They explain the eventual process outcome for each of the various case patterns (that is. The antecedents or opportunity structures render sensible and turn meaningful the process of case development. These antecedents are then applied to the entire range of the pattern. ethnic origin.the idealized type case postulated as the closest chosen &dquo. 2013 . etc.understandability&dquo. for the clusters of similar cases).operational&dquo.operational&dquo. For this explanation. a notion of specific rationality is used that resembles Weber’s means-end rationality. Such dynamics can be found to emulate more and more. Each pattern is analysed separately. They represent. In this way. as they develop over time. Then. Either the longterm the shortterm dynamics of the cases (looked at over the whole range of cases in the study) or of the case patterns (looked at over the more or less limited number of process patterns analysed) can be investigated. definition of rationality.

rationality. He writes: The goal of ideal-type concept-construction is always clearly explicit. aggravation contexts can be found which make it more difficult for a case or a pattern to develop in the direction of & Namely.sagepub. &dquo.operational&dquo. can be epitomized in an ideal-type case.. But one may go one step further. aggravating contexts) can be studied for the entire study population’s longterm dynamics (opportunity structures). Likewise. in turn. dynamic images of the process or the pattern structuring all the case-pattern dynamics are found. rational dynamics. and the longterm process of the development of the Case pattern is explained. Step 3: explanation Weber emphasizes that what sociology eventually must achieve is to understand. the unique individual character of phenomena ( 1904 / 1949:101 ) Downloaded from bms.experimental proof’ (Erfahrungsprobe) may be applied here. In this vein.103 When it is clear what the process pattern is (and how it its antecedents are ascertained (opportunity structures). These are understood to be facilitation contexts bringing about the &dquo..operationally&dquo. To summarize: Case-pattern explanation. of waiting how the historical or social process turns Weber’s idea about out).reality experiment&dquo. 2013 to make cultural . to hold the ideal type against empirical reality is what explanation means here. the individual case. These. and the antecedents (facilitating contexts. &dquo. It is the individual case which represents the cultural phenomenon whose explanation is what sociology must attain through ideal types. The outcome is that over the longterm period of case development. pattern explanation sharpens its analytical tools through what Henrich explicates as verification in the Weberian approach. That is. These two forms of interpretive explanation owe much to the third stage of ideal-type construction described by Weber and clarified by Henrich. and thereby explain. Inasmuch as verification also means reality testing (testing the ideal type by the &dquo. the ideal that over type is honored as a postulate how cases (or case patterns) will develop empirical anticipates time. and process-pattern explanation are two ways to adapt Weber’s idea of explanation to modem qualitative data interpretation. It may be combined with Weber’s observation that means-end rationality is the best ideal type to render understandable social action’s rational empirical orientations.).com at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11.

1978. all cases study populations can within patterns but also within entire be submitted to case explanation.? Some Evidence from One of Our Two Studies Using Ideal-Type Analysis The study investigating Patient Careers in End-Stage Renal Failure was funded by the Social Science Research Council. The latter is explained in terms of why . the absence of facilitating contexts and/or the presence of aggravating contexts .sagepub. This latter may be done by positively concentrating on the particular case as distinct from the ideal-typical at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. the circumstances of the particular case can be shown to be unique biographically and to produce solutions to more general problems which are truly individual. between 1977 and 1980 (project No. To be sure. for instance. Gerhardt and Brieskorn-Zinke 1986). 1990.104 Such explanation which is the eventual raison dlatre of Verstehen may be briefly described as feasible in an obvious way: It holds the ideal-typical case against any particular empirical case.the particular case &dquo. The 600 hours of tape-recorded material were submitted of data processing. 1991 a. Ge 313-3).considering. 1983. HOW DOES IDEAL-TYPE ANALYSIS &dquo. London. 1986c. they had been patients for up to three years at one of the five teaching hospitals which serve the South-East of England. become idealtypical in its dynamics. a book and various articles have described the research and its results (Gerhardt 1981.WORK&dquo. and subsequently by the German National Research Foundation. 2013 . The 234 tape-recorded interviews conducted with husband-patients and wives separately at two points in time one year apart approximately to four steps were of an average 2-hour duration. were being treated for end-stage renal failure. They were: (1) Transcribing the full text in its text or. paraphrasing episodes such that biographical information it could be easily extracted by the researchers: Downloaded from bms. between 1981 and 1982 (project No. The study was a two-point longitudinal investigation of the (nearly) entire patient population of 68 cases of married men of working age (20-50 years) who on January lst. 5013). forthcoming. Bonn. 1984. Two reports. At the same time. alternatively. 1986a.could not&dquo.

105 (2) Coding the transcripts and paraphrases by marking the information which belonged to each of the following biographical dimensions: Medical cum treatment. identity (including changes of bodily status which allowed for or barred such identityrelevant issues as sports. and they drag themselves In case was done: from day children to day while the wme dialyses her husband at home and he continues to work as a salesman as best he can. 1985. (It is unclear whether at this time mortgage payments Downloaded from bms. and eight years after their last interviews (1980. occupational for husband and wife. six. holidays. The patient’s brother decides that he no longer wants to be in business with him (pushing him out of the jointly owned ftmi). etc. 36: 36 (social class II). the patient (aged 31) as well as his are shattered when end-stage renal failure occurs. and his wife becomes estranged from him because she finds her husband more and more repulsiue. 5. 29) wife (aged They both expect the patient to die soon. They make visible the status biographies over the entire early observation period of up to five years of coping with end-stage renal failure (to-t2).). finances. They have 3 small personal (aged 7. this brings the family’s income down to what the patient earns as a salesman which means a drastic reduction of available are funds. The patient develops a food addiction as his way of coping with his machine treatment. 1983. they Subsequent to the interview stage of the research (which covered the time period 1975-1979). Case reconstruction Case reconstructions covered the information on the period up to the last interviews. Two reconstructions of entire case biographies may illustrate what Case No. This was a time period of up to 5 years (60 months). representing tg-tg of the longitudinal study design).com at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. 2013 .sagepub. four. 1987. family life and marital status. and disability. were compiled: they contained the case each of the biographical dimensions in chronological order (for the four main dimensions): (3) Thematic profiles on information (4) Flow-charts were worked out. on a month-by-month basis show the statuses for the four main biographical dimensions for husband and wife in a parallel design. four follow-ups were conducted. They obtained information on the patients’ treatment mode(s) as well as their survival one. 3).

Why do they have to bear the brunt aU alone? After the successful live-donor transplantation from his mother (month I 8). The wife’s salary is doubled by her employer (month 2). partial at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL March 11. 35: 35 (social class Ill). He goes on night dialysis at the hospital and resumes work full-time (his job has been kept for him. and she has herself declared main breadwinner for tax purposes. Between month 9 and 17. After a cadaver-donor transplant fails (month 19). the patient is off work for 5 months and then goes back to work full-time (month 23). In the meantime. They concentrated on the phases of combined treatment and the phases as occupational biographies: theyonlisted Downloaded from bms. but he insists on being given a chance and he can fill it again). They file for a divorce (39 months documented).106 threatened. They are highly in debt since they bought their house shortly before the husband/father’s end-stage renal failure occurred (with the family hauing known about the diagnosis for a long time but having expected that dialysis would not be due for another year). if only ’on paper’. the husband is urged by his wife to stay away from work altogether such that he receives full disability benefit. and he receives a second cadaver-donor transplant which is successful. and the wife has a nervous breakdown due to a crisis which she brought on by publicly criticizing the social security system. she has become friendly with her employer. their 3 sons are between I4 and 17 years old. In case (aged 43) Additional to entire-case reconstructions. The spouses continue to share the cost of mortgage. the patient is a sheet metal worker and his wife is a legal secretary (aged 38). Less than 2 months later. the wife complains the to her telephone that she cannot understand why nobody in the family helps out with a kidney donation. Soon afterwards. The family moves to a larger house and the spouses feel that they make a fresh start. and each of them decides to look after 1 or 2 of the children. soon being made an honorary director by his brother and later also setting up his own business ’on the side’ additionaUy to his salesman job (month 36). 2013 tions were . While the husband dialyses in the hospital (months 1-4). he goes back to work but also decides that he wants to separate from his wife. he is off work. he goes on the transplants list. But when a second attempt at home dialysis fails completely because of the wife’s wlwillingness to share the work.) At mother-lir-law a point of desperation. The quality of the marriage improves notably which is partly due to the return of the husband’s sexual on attractiveness and drive (53 months documented). but later goes back to work and is paid on a day basis. the husband dialyses at home with little help from his wife while marriage tensions rise.sagepub. Case No. the patient decides that he no longer wants to comply with his wife’s wishes regarding his employment.

namely. Case comparisons and the construction of patterns (leading to empirical types) were carried out for the two main partial biographies .107 biographies. the partial reconstruction of case No. 36 may illustrate what was done: Reconstruction of treatment-occupational biography (Case 36): PATTERN ANALYSIS Empirical patterns (Empirical type documentation). 2013 . combinations of statuses between the two most important partial As an example. Downloaded from bms. treatment and occupation (husband’s and wife’ occupational statuses defining what was called the couple’s family rehabilitation) at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11.

which may be an unanticipated side-effect of using the entirety of cases of a highly distinct group as a study population.108 Treatment biographies turned out to be fraught with frequent of treatment modes. Table 1 gives an overview over the percentages of patients in our study population on each of the four treatment modes for the interview period (t 1 . During the first two years of end-stage renal replacement therapy alone. dialysis longterm periods of Pattern B: These patients obtained a transplant after initial hospital dialysis. nobody did that: Patients whose transplants failed after a period of success. between transplant phases. tl) is rather similar .waiting&dquo. opt for home dialysis. and upon its eventual failure exchanged it for a subsequent transplant. The sequence of treatment modes shown for each case in the reconstructions was condensed into an overall picture of patterns of sequences of treatment modes. in our study population. either went back on hospital dialysis expecting their next transplant (even if this meant a decade of &dquo.sagepub. All 68 cases patterns. But eventually they changed to pattern B. expecting to retain dialysis treatment possibly until the end of their lives. table 1 shows a serendipitous issue: Although the study population represented only a tiny fraction of the total patient population in the United Kingdom at the time (over 14. or they would die. the proportion on each of the four treatment modes for 1976 (U. the pattern was sequential transplantation with interspersed hospital dialysis.).t2) changes and the subsequent eight-year follow-up period (t3 .000 cases). only hospital dialysis was considered and obtained. What emerged were three (partial) empirical patterns: Pattern A: These patients oscillated between the two as a modes. No other pattern is adopted. 2013 . This is striking since nephrology textbooks mention that a sizable proportion of patients after their failure of transplants that have functioned for some time.K.t6). Pattern C: The patients started out with pattern A. From then on. up to seven changes of treatment mode were found in the case at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. This can Downloaded from bms. investigated in the study fit into these three be shown for the over twelve years observation period of the study including its follow-ups. frequently tending to obtain home dialysis option but often returning time to (mostly with the wife as the hospital dialysis for short dialysis helper at home).) and 1978 (study population. Incidentally.

Patient Careers in End-Stage Renal Failure&dquo. a small number of cases changed from the latter to the former over time. were. over time. Now it was necessary to identify such patient careers and to find out where they were & at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11.. or the wife became the breadwinner while the husband (sometimes) took over the housework (wife-centered type). Table 3 gives details who survived until t3. Between patterns (A) and (B). The research project aimed to study &dquo. in the various patterns of case dynamics and what their facilitating contexts etc.pure&dquo. cases) which are sought in the material were to epitomize careers. sequential transplantation and intermittent in the early period or at a later date of the Table 2 shows how D-type and T-type treatment patterns are distributed among social classes I-IV at three points in time (tl. 2013 .They were: and wife’s (A) One pattern was male-dominated in that the husband had been the main or sole breadwinner prior to treatment. a considerable number of surviving cases changed from the latter to the former while none went in the opposite direction. t6). t3. The ideal types (&dquo. or the family’s husband/father-oriented structure remained unchanged although he (had) lost his job (unemployment type): among the two types. The total number of cases analysed is N=63 since class-V cases and military cases are omitted. type Downloaded from bms.sagepub. little overlap occured.109 Patterns A-C may be condensed into two treatment empirical types of dynamics: Pattern of exclusive Pattern of D-Type: T ~lype: dialysis treatment hospital dialysis adopted treatment biography. and he either continued to fulfill this role (traditional type). Family rehabilitation (marital structure in terms of husband’s occupational status) was found to fit into two empirical patterns comprising four types. (B) The second pattern was a companionship relationship between the spouses where either both spouses were employed fulltime (dual-career type).situated&dquo. no case in opposite direction. on family rehabilitation patterns for those Ideal-type Construction The next step of pattern analysis is case abstraction and idealconstruction.

sagepub. 2013 In case a 60 (social class TV). the financial situation is excellent.careemess&dquo. his wife begins part-time work because she does not want to sit at On home now as the second child has started schooL She uses the money to pay for her own car with which she drives the children to their ballet lessons. He works 4 days per week in order not to exhaust himself. It turned out that two types of -patient career had to be distinguished. dealer at (aged 32) is a wholesale wife (aged 31) has two minor partchildren are 7 and 5 years old. (d) absence of negative effects on children (such as becoming truant or criminal. (c) absence of negative effects on marriage (marital satisfaction of both spouses). the children and parents now feel comfortable in their new home. One month later.. she dialyses her husband. A social workers advice to approach a Benevolent Architects Society solves the crisis: the society pays the rate bill and gives the family a small amount euery month. They were: The criteria had to be met over time. The wife’s opinion is that they by now have ’returned to norma. Three months before the patient’s acute renal failure and diagnosis. or games. In case 27 (social class I). the patient (aged 46) is an architect and his wife (aged 33) has always been a housewife.110 Four criteria were formulated which were to characterize a (a) job promotion. and better for the occupational position of husband or of wife (or both) as compared with the onset period. 3 months later. and the annual rate bill means disaster since they are Ii. or being treated for psychological disturbance). they bought a home. and the patient. Their Downloaded from bms. leading to a state of was at least not worse compared with the onset situation on all observed dimensions. The cases No. He even finds himself a better job as a principal architect for a localfinn (month 16). These cases may be described by their full case reconstructions.pure&dquo. ’goes form strength to strength’. (b) improvement of financial circumstances over onset situation. according to his w fe. and his . All this time. A &dquo. The couple is filing for time at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. usually in late afternoons/evenings three times per week. he takes on a private commission (month 19) after having begun a 3-year Open University course to improve himself regarding engineering knowledge. Thus. case had to match all four criteria of patient career.l’ (29 months documented).teraUy unable to pay. patient career. the patient meat market. their children are 6 and 3 years old. Now mortgage payments appear enormous. according to whether a marriage was male-dominated or affairs that companionship. 27 and No. top of this. 60 represent patient careers which met all four criteria of &dquo. The patient decides to dialyse at home (after 3 months hospdal dialysis).

the divorce is ever after. and how this. not even going off work when he starts dialysing (2 months at the hospital. and they retain their companionship (dual-career) . Here. but none manages a veritable occupational helps promotion. 27 and No. occurs as an outflow of his occupational orientation. The family rehabilitation is male-dominated (M). him to improve his occupational position. partly because they buy shire horses as a family hobby and take them to exhibitions where they win prizes. then at home). the patient’s ability to work is improved subsequent to his transplant whereupon he adds two realms of activities to his occupational work. This may be learned from the following overview contrasting their analytically relevant characteristics. Negative e& at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. The other at all. In this case. 27: most of these who initially adopt a D-type treatment also have M-type family rehabilitation. Although the couple dialyses at home until month 17. This ideal-type case shows a career where occupational choice is primary and treatment choice is secondary. The only workrelated interruption which he allows himself is that. on the other hand. the wife starts full-time employment in month 8. 60. The choice of main treatment type (D-pattern). the husband feels that he has all the strength which he needs. epitomizes a different kind of orientation.ffects on the children are not reported (19 months a documented). 2013 . 60 represent ideal types or &dquo. in turn.111 divorce (on wife’s demand) when the patient’s kidney fail unexpectedly. treatment choice is not Downloaded from bms. that the ’illness phase’ is over. Eventually. for a short period. Cases No.sagepub. Case 27 reason cases contain these elements in lesser epitomizes how the husband’s secure degree or not job is the why the couple chooses home dialysis. too.transplant . Other cases are more or less similar to case No. opposite versions of patient career. Their marriage improves. therefore.pure&dquo. he stalls his self-employed retail business which he otherwise manages ’on the side’ of his regular job. The resultant career type may be called the M-D-career. the patient successfully receives a transplant. The graft is successful. At the patient’s request and to his satisfaction. Case No. his wife successfully applies for a full-time job (as a traueUing saleswoman) 8 months after his end-stage renal failure. Consequently. and he is back to work after 2 weeks. kept constant but is improved in its own right. and his wife is convinced that they are ’back to normal’. he accepts while his wife is out of town (month 17). they decide to have home dialysis for reasons of the husband’s job which he practically keeps uninterrupted. When the patient unexpectedly is offered a cadaver-donor transplant. which facilitates that the longterm treatment pattern chosen is the dialysis pattern (D).

Mostly these patients seek a early as possible after their onset of renal replacement to not improve their chances on the labour market they are unemployed). 35 whose full case reconstruction was shown fraction of (eventual) C-T-cases. but it is helped by age. however. wives are breadwinners initially. by far not every transplant is successful). 27 and No. 60.sagepub.112 Case 60 is cases are a C-T-case that also manages a career. whereas the facilitating context for T-careers is lower-class status and the facilitating condition is age not over 35 years. Other C-T- not transplant as therapy in order (whether or necessarily career cases. Case-pattern explanation Now the question emerge? The which these are answer is asked. that class is antecedent for eventual transplantation. careers Our hypotheses derive from the ideal-type cases No. That is. Patients who are aged over 35 years are three times as likely than those aged under 35 years to be offered longterm dialysis. Table 5 shows. Upon successful transplantation they frequently become more successful in their occupations. and case in point a above. It ventures that the facilitating context for D-careers is upperclass socio-economic status and the facilitating condition is age at onset of over 35 years. how do these biographical patterns must be sought in conditions or contexts out of biographical patterns develop. and C-T-Career). often until their husbands obtain a transplant. For those aged over 35 years. Tables 4 and 5 offer some evidence which clarifies the These tables show the case numbers which cases mentioned in the case reconstructions above. 2013 . A is No. help to identify the Table 4 shows that first-choice D-pattem treatment is not particularly facilitated by social at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. Patients in classes III/IV aged under 35 years are three times as likely than patients in classes 1/11 to have been transplanted by t4 (2nd follow-up). One of these hypotheses will be discussed here in some detail. the antecedents sought which in these cases facilitate or jeopardize the development of a certain case in the direction of one of the two main (M-D-Career. the Downloaded from bms. In subsequently the patients join their wives on the labour market (which renders the couple’s family rehabilitation dual-career). either finding a better job or doing better in their previous jobs (however. relationship further. The couples in these cases are frequently companionship marriages.

In our study. (B) those who never were transplanted where the latter was achieved.triggering off’ a certain course of events or experiences. devided by survivors and non-survivors.operational&dquo. notion of rationality and uses it as a &dquo. Four groups were formed among at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. Among these four subgroups. Such rationality was termed &dquo.that is. namely. to understand case dynamics on a comparative basis. and through their (age) characteristic which is a facilitating condition &dquo. we hypothesized that the most rational combination of statuses for a patient was also the one which allowed for his optimal survival . and T-patterns are reached more easily in lower-class cases. and (c) patient’s full-time employment (as measured at t2). and (D) those achieving both. They were (a) alive after 9-12 years of end-stage renal disease treatment. at least six months posttransplant after which time rejection of the graft becomes somewhat less likely). and it was operationalized through three criteria for the cases. Process-pattem explanation &dquo. In our study.113 chance is lower but it still is nearly twice that of upper-class patients. (C) those (eventually) attaining a transplant but not (until t2) the patient’s full-time return to work. It refers to Weber’s idea that the reference level of explanation is a notion of rationality.survival rationality&dquo. the average length of time of post-onset survival was calculated.measure&dquo. and ideal types are identified as patient-career cases.e. not only his physical longevity but also his survival as a social being appeared optimal when he combined being alive with full-time employment and a functioning transplant. Table 6 shows that survival-rationality of case characteristics means more longevity even for those who eventually died. 2013 . it focuses on the idea of career. For each of the four subgroups..sagepub.constructs&dquo. through Process-pattern explanation explanation organizes the evidence in our study epitomized by two career versions). Cases in D-pattems and T-pattems can be understood their likelihood to belong to a certain occupational (socialclass) context. Case-pattern explanation is based on ideal-type case construction. (b) successfully transplanted (i. Downloaded from bms. (A) those who never were transplanted (until t6) and never (until t2) managed the patient’s employment. process-pattern explanation uses another principle of Whereas case-pattern to regard ideal-type cases (in Verstehen. an &dquo. On an explanatory plane. group D represents the survival-optimal type of patient biography. the case pattern analysis shows that D-pattems are typical for the upper age groups.

is here not demonstrated further. that the ratio between group D and groups A-C was 1:2. the process pattern of longterm coping with end-stage renal failure (up to twelve years of renal-replacement therapy) shows attainment of both full-time employment and functioning transplant for a growing proportion of those who live that long. Case explanation A short word may be said about how case explanation functions.7 at t5. helped to set the frame for the case explanation focusing on the longterm coping pattern process. To be sure. 2013 .survival rationality&dquo. These patterns may be visible at the point of onset. In this way.114 case Another striking fact could also be found when looking at the dynamics of subgroups A-C as compared with subgroup D. case explanation that is directed at a particular case may be what Weber had in mind when he suggested that cultural phenomena (Kutturerschetnungen) were the true object of ideal-type sociological explanation. only In other words.1 at t3. Downloaded from bms. or t5 respectively. More and more patients managed to reach the goal. 53. or they may develop over time as a longterm perspective. it was 1:1.5 at tl. and children’s lack of problems. the empirical biographies moved in the direction of the rational process pattern. It was found that more and more cases developed in the direction of the rational optimal solution. fmancial situation. To sumnarize: Process-pattern explanation wishes to identify process patterns which can be found in the entire range of cases as they develop over at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. marital accord. in terms of number of patients. and eventually it was 1:0. definition of &dquo. The analytical design was such that employment as elicited at t2 was used as a predictor on a case basis of eventual attainment of a transplant as a biographical perspective for t6.sagepub.survival rationality&dquo. The criteria for optimal-survival rationality were best met by a case which also near-optimized the criteria of employment.operational&dquo. Its use as an explanatory device to understand the longterm process pattern of survival under an analytical perspective of &dquo. An &dquo. Figure 1 shows. Not did patients with (eventual) survival-rational case characteristics attain improved longevity (Table 6): but over time more and more patients among the survivors managed to also obtain a survival-rational employment-treatment combination. The case that met these criteria was case No.

In order to house the dialysis room. but at the same time distinguishable from. individual observations or cases are often rejected as pre-scientific evidence.survival-optimal rationality&dquo. he finds a new job as office manager in a different industrial branch.lure and soon would have to go on dialysis.e. but an effort might be made here to envisage how one can understand the specifity of individual case dynamics as a deviation from what is typical in the patterns which are being analysed. Indeed. It is here held against case No.~pt her work as a fuU-time secretary to the president of a merchant bank. its case reconstruction was given above. it may be remarked that modem sociology is more interested in the typical than in the individual phenomenon. and compatible with.sagepub. After 8 months. they build an extension to the house for which the bank where the wife works gives them a mortgage on very low interest. This has not been done so far. 53 which is the ideal-type case for &dquo. which he reduces to part-time work for 3 months and resumes full-time after hauing gone on night dialysis. financial affluence and high security of employment). A brief documentation may illustrate what a case explanation be like when conducted as a part of an ideal-type analysis. 53’s case reconstruction shows the following: Case 53 (social class 11) is a 42-year-old office manager who his job a few months prior to discovering that he was in renal fai. They decide to fi. Case no. ideal-type analysis suggests that individual case explanation should be an element of. case explanation should be generalizable into. explanation of the pattern to which the case(s) belong(s). companionship marriage) with the typical strength of the upper-class cases (i. Their son who has been educated at a Public School finishes school in the first year of his father’s treatment and goes on to University (with the patient being disappointed that he is not accepted for Cambridge).115 In contradistinction to this focus on the individual. he begins to dialyse at home with his wife who does not intem. They are said not to be explicable in terms of the representative pattern relationship between factors usually found in social research. At least. pattern at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. 35.e.t the home dialysis in with the housework which they have done together for nearly 20 years after lost work and on weekends.. One month before he goes on hospital dialysis.. 2013 . (in our data material it is even the only case combining upper-class socioeconomic status (class 1/11) with dual-career marital set-up (companionship family rehabilitation). In contrast. This is the only upper-class case with a C-T-pattern: It combines the typical strength of the working-class cases (i. and an eventual successful transplant subsequent to uneventful home dialysis). can The case which I wish to explain is case No. Both spouses Downloaded from bms.

Indeed. In case No. The answer requires that the criteria for survivalrationality are recollected. (b) financial improvement and security. 35 is less survivalprone than No. case No. 35 is primarily not related to its survival rationality: Case No. Therefore. the wife in case No. The marriage is severely jeopardized. and she resents this tremendously.sagepub. (This case disqualifies as one of ideal type for patient career only because none of the spouses is.(d) are met. A comparison between cases No. criteria (a) and (c) for a patient career are not met at all). however. promoted). in fact. and (d) absence of children’s problems. 35 begins to fear that one of the children has inherited her husband’s (the patient’s) disease . In case No. The point where something case No. 53. To compare the cases No. 35. the patient solves a crisis prior to onset by finding a career job that equals the one which he lost shortly before. 53 is such that each spouse alone earns more than the average British income. 35 reveals that all three criteria are met by both cases. This suggests that the peculiarity of case No. 53. 2013 . concerns else. They continuously are in financial trouble but they scrape through somehow. by The four criteria which define the ideal-type case of patient are a second basis for a case explanation which yields interesting results. Downloaded from bms. the patient’s job situation is threatened most of the time throughout the new first three years after treatment onset.which is not unlikely. whereas in case No. The financial situation in case No. they are: (a) alive at t6. and (c) fully employed at t2. however. and it eventually ends in separation at the end of the observation period (therefore. if yes. and he can at best work parttime. Criterion (b) refers to income. 35 is unique. criteria (b) . and regarding the occupational situation (criterion a). They burden because they have incorporated it into their joint domestic chores on 3 days of the week (29 months documented). With regard to the children (criterion d). (c) marital satisfaction. criterion (b) is only occasionally and poorly met in case No. first. The wife experiences a serious psychological crisis. 35 is far from survival-irrational. As regards the two other criteria.116 find home dialysis than the national average salary each. why) No. As criteria were stated: (a) job promotion of at least one spouse. (b) successfully transplanted at t6. be directed the question whether (and. 35 although the couple manages to avoid serious debt. 35 meets these criteria already at 37 months after at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. In month 62. there are vast differences between the cases. 35 can. 35 both spouses together earn less than the average family income which often is earned by one wage earner alone. 53 and No. the patient receives a cadaver-donor transplant which has been successful until the lastfoUow-up at month continue to earn more no 132). 53 and No.

com at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. 35 admirable is that after their separation. Maybe I should have written a book about the topic instead of compelling the reader to find his or her way through the meanders of this long article’s argument. This case explanation may serve as an example of how the individual case often represents chance and unforeseen hazards. After a period of harassment from various sources. explain the case by just as Weber making understandable its unique dynamics --- suggested. or the crisis reveals that the spouses are unable to cope together with the dire consequences of the patient’s disease and treatment. These emerge as specific when the case is held against the ideal-type case. But since Karl van Meter (whom I owe profound thanks for it) encouraged me to write a long article instead of the book which might be more comprehensive. She ends up being targeted in a nationwide press campaign. 35 tragic is that the crisis is selfinflicted which develops into the marital breakdown. both spouses find new partners and &dquo.objectivity&dquo. alas.117 It happens after she complains to a national tabloid newspaper about the local social security office’s stubborn refusal to help out with a loan when clients wish to avoid going on supplementary benefit. What makes case better ever after&dquo. so far has not been written. 2013 . What makes case No..sagepub. and from there it continues with an outline of ideal-type analysis as a method of qualitative data interpretation. then it progresses to how Weber’s methodology implies three steps of a method of concept construction for historical data. but. CONCLUDING REMARK This long article was meant to give a short overview over what ideal-type analysis is. the choice was between silence and this long and at the same time short text. to be sure. subsequent to the patient’s eventual second transplant which is successful. after this more or less abstract Downloaded from bms. Then. and his triple original presentation of the ideal-type idea. This crisis period is possibly the turning point when the marriage deteriorates sharply. It tries to account as clearly as possible for the steps of the methodology before it describes the method and its use. The article starts out with Weber’s thoughts on &dquo. how it is grounded in Weber’s works and how it may be used in qualitative data interpretation. Such irrational elements. she has a nervous breakdown while her husband refuses to stand by her.

23. at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. Vol.. Atkinson. Forschung. alas. But.learn from empiricism&dquo. It ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I wish to thank Ralf Kramer for his our helpful discussions and thoughtful suggestions. Ebering.sagepub. Bienfait. BIBLIOGRAPHY Adorno. Becker. American Sociological Review. Beitrag Frage der Bedeutung des ’Idealtypus’ f&uuml. Alfred Hamerle. (1957): Soziologie und In: Gesammelte Schriften. Hans-Peter. Howard (1958): Problems of Inference and Proof in Participant Observation. overview of Weberian &dquo. the article goes on to illustrate the merits of the method.und Sozialwissenschaften. So the reader may have to wait for the book on the study which should be compiled in the not too distant future (in German). Paul (1990): The Ethnographic Imagination. (Weiss 1994).r die Geschichtswissenschaft. My second study (conducted 1987-1993 in Germany) which also used the ideal-type method for data analysis would have been fruitful to use as a further example of how the different kinds of explanation &dquo. Theodor W. Statistische Theorie und Anwendung in den interpretation. 652660. Frankfurt: Campus. 8. 2013 . Blossfeld. I hope. Downloaded from bms. it appeared that the article was already rather long as it is. Vol. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Frankfurt: empirische Suhrkamp 1972. Werner (1930): Ein Max zur Webers Berlin: Emil Lehre vom geschichtlichen Erkennen. strangers&dquo. and Karl-Ulrich Mayer (1983): Ereignisanalyse.naive Ideal-type analysis. Empirical data were here re-interpreted which were part of my study on Patient Careers in End-Stage Renal Failure conducted in England in the 1970s-1980s. is now visible as a useful extension methodology into a method for qualitative data is one promising way to both avoid the trap of (Adomo 1957) and nevertheless &dquo.118 over the method and its background has been given.

Stuttgart: Metzler. 5013 (132 pp. 43. Change in Life Experience. Social Press. Robert M. Typenkonstruktion Patientenkarrieren. Biographische den Patientenkarrieren chronisch End-of-Grant German Niereninsuffizienter. History. Jr. In: Martin Kohli and G&ucirc. Uta (1986a): Patientenkarrieren.berlegungen zum G&ucirc.nter Roberts (eds): Biographie und Soziale Wirklichkeit. Gerhardt. (ed) (1983): Contemporary Field Research. Frankfurt: Campus. Research Foundation. Boston: Little Brown. Uta (1984): Typenkonstruktion bei Patientenkarrieren. Uta (1986b): Verstehende Strukturanalyse: Die von Idealtypen als Analyseschritt bei der Auswertung qualitativer Forschungsmaterialien. Vol. Eine medizin- soziologische Konstruktion Studie. Glen. Emerson. Glen. Durham: Duke University Press 1987 (new expanded edition). 189-194.. Dialysis and Transplantation. 230-256.. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. (ed) (1985): Life Course Dynamics: Trajectories and Transitions. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. project No. Chicago: University of Chicago Elder. Press. Downloaded from bms. Law. and Klaus Kraimer (eds) (1991): Qualitativ- empirische Sozialforschung. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag. Elder. End-of-Grant report. Uta (1981): Patient Careers in End-Stage Renal Failure. Gerhardt. Gerhardt. unpublished).ltigkeitsproblem in der biographischen Sozialforschung. 4). Social Science Research Council.lner Zeitschrift f&uuml. (1974): Children of the Great Depression. project No. K&ocirc. Gerhardt. Thomas (1976): Max Weber’s Theory of Concept Formation. Vol. 55-77.sagepub. Uta (1986c): Treatment Careers and Long-Term Survival in End-Stage Renal Failure. In: Hans-Georg Soeffner (ed): Sozialstruktur und soziale at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. Detlef. Gerhardt. Ge 313/3 (768 pp. and Ideal Types. 31-83. Garz. National report. Jr. unpublished).119 Burger. Uta (1983): in Gerhardt. Gerhardt.hldaten und Hypothesenkonstruktion: &uuml.r Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie. Uta (1985): Erz&acirc. 2013 . 15 (No.

1211-1224. CT: JAI Press. 2: Chronic Illness. Bernhard Borgetto. Vol. Gerhardt. In: Gerhardt. Gerhardt. 9-60. Uta (1991b): Handlungsrationalit&acirc. 30. Qualitative Sociology . 271-317. 205-244. CT: JAI Press. unpublished). 422-448. Uta Stage Renal Gerhardt. Ge 313/5 (1035 pp. Uta (1988): Qualitative Sociology in the Federal Republic of Germany. 61-87.sagepub. Greenwich. Uta. Zur Statusdynamik der Rehabilitation der Arbeiter nach koronarer Bypassoperation. Gerhardt.t und das Problem Gesellschaft und Gesundheit. 2013 . Vol. Uta (1992c): The relationship between medical and occupational patients ten years Open-Heart rehabilitation in two cohorts of coronary artery bypass apart. Gerhardt. In: Gerhardt. Gerhardt. Survival in Chronische der sozialen Erkrankung: Pathologie.r Gerontologie. Vol. Vol. and Marianne Brieskorn-Zinke (1986): The Normalization of Hemodialysis at Home.hberentung und Handlungsrationalit&auml. and Beate Rockenbauch (1993): Aortokoronarer Venenbypass und R&ucirc. In: Simon Williams and Michael Calnan (eds): Modem Medicine: Lay Perspectives and Experiences. In: Julius A. Uta (1992b): Alternsdynamik und Rehabilitation Bypassoperation. project No. 4: The Adoption and Social Consequences of Medical Technologies. In: Paul J.ckkehr zur Arbeit. Vol.120 Gerhardt. London: UCL Press. German National Research Foundation. Roth and Sheryl B. Zeitschrift f&uuml. Uta (1991c): Family Rehabilitation and Longterm End-Stage Renal Failure. Uta (1991a): Idealtypische Analyse von Statusbiographien bei chronisch Kranken. 215-226. 25. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. Endof-Grant report. Gerhardt. In: Gary Albrecht and Judith Levy (eds): Advances in Medical Sociology. Gerhardt. Uta (1992a): Fr&ucirc. Uta (1990): Patient Careers in End-Stage Renal Failure. Dordrecht: Kl&uuml. Ruzek (eds): Research in the Sociology of Health Care. Walter (ed): Quality of Life After Surgery. 29-43. Downloaded from bms. Social Science and Medicine. Vol. 11. Gerhardt. Soziale at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. 43. (forthcoming): Narratives of Normality: EndFailure Patients Experience Their Transplant Option. nach koronarer 243-254. Uta. Uta: Gesellschaft und Gesundheit..t. Greenwich.

and Klaus Kirchg&acirc. Matza. 41-91. the Glaser.rgen Krambeck (1979): Die Methodologie der ’objektiven Hermeneutik’ und ihre allgemeine forschungssoziologische in den Sozialwissenschaften. Udo (1991): Ideal Types or Empirical Types: The Case of Max Weber’s Empirical Research. and The Problem of at XIth World id&eacute. New Delhi (unpublished). 352-434. (1984): Max Weber and the Methodology Social Sciences. Mill Valley: Sociology Press.121 Gerhardt. Toby E. Tilman Allert. Vol.ssler (1986): Validity in Qualitative Research.lner Zeitschrift Vol.und Textwissenschaften. Bulletin de M&eacute. Barney G. 32.res de Klaus Kirchg&acirc. Berkeley: University Oevermann. Becker. In: Hans-Georg Soeffner Bedeutung (ed): Interpretative Verfahren in den Sozial. Social Problems. Vol. No. 436-445. f&uuml. (1978): Theoretical at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. Gert (1980): Max Webers Beitrag Industrieforschung. of the Kukartz. Barney (1965): The Constant Comparative Method of Qualitative Analysis. in Hennis. With a new introduction by Chicago University Press 1966. Anselm L. Schmidt. 2013 . Sozialpsychologie. Dieter (1952): Die Einheit der Wissenschaftslehre Max T&ucirc. Uta. (1987): Qualitative Analysis for Social Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.sagepub. and J&ucirc.ssler (1987): Analyse patients. Glaser. A Delinquent Boy’s Own Story. Paper presented Congress of Sociology. 76-92. Scientists.thodologie Sociologique. de carri&egrave. 12. David (1969): Becoming Deviant. Downloaded from bms. California Press. Wilhelm (1986): Max Webers Mohr (Siebeck). Henrich.. Advances Methodology of Grounded Theory.bingen: Mohr (Siebeck). Howard S. New Brunswick: Transaction Books. Chicago: Strauss. Gerhardt. T&ucirc. Fragestellung. clifford (1930): The Jack Roller. Stuttgart: Metzler.r zur empirischen Soziologie und Shaw. Ulrich.bingen: Webers. 32. Huff. Sciences Sociales et Sant&eacute. Uta. September 1991.altypique 5. K&ouml. Elisabeth Konau.

in Social Science and Social In: Max Weber: The Methodology of the Social Sciences. Max (1922): Economy and Society. and Juliet Corbin (1990): Basics of . Weber. Shils and Henry A. Weber. Translated and edited by Edward A. 11.122 Strauss. Qualitative Research London: Sage. (1994): Learning from Strangers. 50-112. Max (1904): ’Objectivity’ The Sociological Quarterly. Weber. 2013 only from . Wright Mills (eds): From Max Weber. The Art and Method of Qualitative Interview Studies. New York: Oxford University Press. Max (1913): Some Categories of Interpretive 22 (1981).sagepub. Max (1917): Science as a Vocation. Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques. Table 1: Proportion of patients on four types and of treatment (total patient at population points in in the United Kingdom study population various tiae) * Data received Downloaded four out of five treatment from bms. Weber. Policy. New York: Free Press. Weiss. New York: Free Press 1949. An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. 151-180. New York: Bedminster Press 1968. Robert S. In: Hans Gerth and C. Edited by Guenther Roth and Claus at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on Marchhospitals. Anselm. Vol. Sociology. Finch. at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11. 2013 . by social (N=63) Downloaded from bms. 123 Table 2: Number of cases in biographies class among survivors at empirical types of treatment three points in time.sagepub.

124 Bulletin de MEthodobgie Sociologiqru (59 rue Pouchet. December 1994. at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11.sagepub. 45 Downloaded from bms. 2013 . F 75017 Paris).

by case numbers (N=33) Table 5: Downloaded from bms. 2013 . by numbers (N=45) Social class and age at onset for cases with eventual T-pattern treatment.sagepub. until at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11.125 Table 4: Social class and age at onset for case cases with initial D-patfiern treatment.

126 - Table 6: Average Survival Status Follow-up Survival (N = Length 68) (Months) by Subgroup and Figure 1: Number of cases with Optimal-Survival and All Other Outcomes Over 7-year Follow-up Period Downloaded from at UNIVERSITE DE MONTREAL on March 11.sagepub. 2013 .