Paths between Positivism and Interpretivism: An Appraisal of Hay's Via Media



Hay's Political Analysis raises foundational issues for all social scientists, not least in its outline for a via media, or middle way, between positivist and interpretivist social science. In this view, social science should be firmly grounded in empirical study but take seriously the notion that there is no privileged vantage point from which to generate dispassionate knowledge claims about the social world. This article asks whether this apparent via media is coherent and meaningfully captures what it means to be doing positivist and interpretivist social science without, so to speak, conceding too much ground to the other approach.