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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


PEINADO, Anselmo. Qualitative Research in Spain: from Political Life to Maltreatment of the Sense. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2002, vol.76, n.5, pp.381-393. ISSN 2173-9110.

A current of sociological thought came into being in Spain in the sixties consisting of what is known by the ill-defined term of qualitative methodology in our country. A blatant paradox, as the freedom with which this theoretical and methodological building would be erected was born precisely out of a lack of political freedom and freedom of thought of those dreadful years. Countering the official body of knowledge and also removed from all "protest" orthodoxy, a vivid, problematical reflection of the society's true situation conceived as critical theory took shape. It is in no way owing, as regards its assumptions, its findings or its formulations, to either English-U.S.. sociology, which was predominant at the time, or to that which would later progressively makes it way to us. Taking exception to data and the imaginary all-powerful importance thereof, this methodology propounded a radical turnabout of the perspective of this research to focus on language, understood as the social discourse, in the powerful sense of the word, and not as a mere set of statements, also moving away from the more or less subjectivist conceptions of the meaning. Opposing the body of knowledge of this discipline, it construed research as a crossroads, undertaking an endless task, as it is impossible to complete from a logical point of view. It then propounded listening to the sense, which is never the same as the meaning, and includes the analysis of the wording used for a full understanding thereof.... This is a totally autochthonous current perfectly well-founded at its epistemological, methodological and technical levels, the continuing survival today of which is more than uncertain, as it dissolves into the body of university knowledge, into the ongoing flow of the quotes of authors, currents and disciplines. It is corrupted in its commercial use, where its discontinuance now seems assured in benefit of the marketing discourse, and it is running the risk of becoming completely useless in social areas of study (such as Health), where poorer English-U.S. perspectives are coming into play without apparently meeting with the least critical opposition.

Keywords : Qualitative Research; Spain; Public Health; Sociology; Social Sciences.

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