Sociology Index


The systemic and empirical approach is a theoretical and methodological framework for the study of culture including several fields such as comparative cultural studies, cultural studies, comparative literature, literature, anthropology, ethnography, audience studies, and cognitive sciences.

In systemic and empirical approach, the main question is what happens to products of culture and how: It is produced, published, distributed, read, listened to, seen, imitated, assessed, discussed, studied, censored. The systemic and empirical approach to study of culture originates as a reaction to, and an attempt at, solving the problematics of hermeneutics.

The approach and methodology(ies) of the framework are built on the theory of constructivism (radical, cognitive, etc.), in turn based on the thesis that the subject largely construes its empirical world itself.

The consequence of this line of thought, as seen in the work of scholars in Germany, Holland, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Canada, the USA and elsewhere in several fields and areas of study, is the replacement of (metaphorical) interpretation with the study of culture products and the processes of the products as based on radical constructivism, systems theories, and the empirical (observation and knowledge-based argumentation).

The system of culture and actions within are observed from the outside, not experienced, and roughly characterized as depending on two conventions that are tested continually. These conventions are the aesthetic convention and the polyvalence convention.

Thus, the object of study of the systemic and empirical study of culture is not only the text in itself, but roles of action within the system(s) of culture, namely, the production, distribution, reception, and the processing of culture products.

In general, the steps to be taken in systemic and empirical research are the formation of a hypothesis, putting it into practice, testing, and evaluation.