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Ambiguity and polysemy as rhetorical resources in knowledge disputes: The struggle over the interpretation of Kuhn in organisation studies

Ratle, Olivier

Ambiguity and polysemy as rhetorical resources in knowledge disputes: The struggle over the interpretation of Kuhn in organisation studies Thumbnail


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Abstract

In knowledge disputes about the paradigmatic status of management and organisation studies, many commentators have debated whether or not interpretations of Thomas Kuhn’s work have been accurate, and have deplored the lack of a common and shared use of notions like ‘paradigm’ and ‘incommensurability’. By looking at the role of ambiguity and polysemy in knowledge disputes, the position developed here is one that recognises that the meaning of concepts is an important site of contestation. Ambiguity and polysemy are not merely obstacles to the resolution of controversies; they are rhetorical resources mobilised in the construction of positions and arguments. Thus, for very good reasons, attempts to generate shared meaning of concepts are likely to encounter important difficulties. This is illustrated by a rhetorical reading of two texts from the ‘paradigm debate’.

Citation

Ratle, O. (2019). Ambiguity and polysemy as rhetorical resources in knowledge disputes: The struggle over the interpretation of Kuhn in organisation studies. Studi di sociologia, 57(1), https://doi.org/10.26350/000309_000048

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 2, 2018
Online Publication Date Mar 1, 2019
Publication Date Mar 1, 2019
Deposit Date Mar 7, 2019
Publicly Available Date Mar 21, 2019
Journal Studi di Sociologica
Print ISSN 0039-291X
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Issue 1
DOI https://doi.org/10.26350/000309_000048
Keywords paradigm debate, meta-theoretical issues, Kuhn, rhetoric
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/851211
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.26350/000309_000048
Additional Information Additional Information : This is the author's accepted manuscript. The final published version is available here: http://dx.doi.org/10.26350/000309_000048.

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