di Sergio Salvatore, Jaan Valsiner, Sarah Strout-Yagodzynski, Joshua Clegg
When a new branch of science reaches a state where its growing knowledge can be systematically investigated,celebration of an important milestone of development is in order. This first Yearbook of Idiographic Science is such milestone. Since the beginning of the International Journal of Idiographic Science in 2005, the work that has reached the public audience has constantly been growing. This is no surprise since studying our phenomena of interest in their uniqueness of singularity—yet with goals of generalization makes perfect sense for both science and for practice.
To set the stage for this Yearbook, we identify key issues on which further advancement of the idiographic science depends. Each issue is a knot of various conceptual tensions whose clear definition lays the foundation for a scientific program. Here we will deal with three main issues. Each of them entails very general questions for any science:
• What does depicting sense-making mean and how does it work? Sense is idiographic by its nature—yet science operates with generalizations. Our goal is to show that such opposition is an artifact—there is always generality in the particulars and from the specific single cases we can arrive at generalizations that do not require the use of the notion of sample or population. The generic notion of a triangle is present in each and every triangular shape in the world—and to retrieve it we do not need to know what the “population of triangles” is like (nor do we need a “sample” of triangular forms to arrive at a triangle)
• As soon as one acknowledges the co-constructive circularity between sense-making and the sense-maker-- what is the conceptual status of the individual and which basic theoretical goals one can assume as fundamental anchoring in the production of knowledge about subject-system transaction?
• What does development mean? What are the aims-- and the syntax—in our efforts to understand it? This question has been a stumbling block for developmental psychology over the past 150 or so years—and its general solution is still nowhere in sight. Science that fails to chart out its basic coordinates fails in its knowledge construction task. All these issues are crucial for the advancement of idiographic science,as it suffers from the outset from the stigma of social representation coming from the term idiographic. We do not see any reason for such stigma—as we are addressing the basic science issue of generalization—yet the social perceptions of our efforts need not concur.
1. Idiographic science on its way:
towards making sense of psychology
Section I - Depicting Sensemaking
2. How generalization works through the single case:
a simple idiographic process analysis of an individual psychotherapy
3. The discursive dynamic of sensemaking
4. Nomothetic and idiographic approaches: constructing a bridge
5. Understanding narrative role in depicting meaning and clinical intervention
6. Idiographic science: explaining or understanding?
Section II - Person in the semiospher
7. The identity construction process of a woman involved in drug trafficking:
a systemic approach
8. Construction and internalization of prayer practices to cope with transitional life periods
9. Self and dialogical articulation of multivocality: proposal of an analysis model
10. Idiographic study of health behavior change. From insulin dependence to independence
11. The dialogical self as (atmospherically) mediated within a socio-cultural sphere:
a socio-cultural approach to the formation of the self
12. Invisible boundaries with concrete implications: meaning-making processes and symbolic boundaries
13. What is it like to be a person? The contribution of discursive psychology to idiographic science
14. What is the nature of idiographic data?
Section III - Life trajectories
15. Joint book reading: socialization of literacy in cultural perspective
16. A developmental-functionalist view of the development of transitive and intransitive
constructions in a hindi-speaking child: a case study
17. Functionally adequate language use in the real world: what does it mean “to be functional”?
18. Texts as cultural instruments
19. Children’s uses of cultural objects in their life trajectories
Sergio Salvatore is professor of Dynamic Psychology at the University of Salento (Lecce, Italy) and Director of the Doctoral Course "Sciences of the Mind and Human Relations".
Jaan Valsiner is a cultural psychologist with a consistently developmental axiomatic base that is brought to analyses of any psychological or social phenomena. He is the founding editor (1995) of the Sage journal, Culture & Psychology. He is currently professor of psychology at the Department of Psychology, Clark University, USA.