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date: 16 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The purpose of this article is to introduce information system (IS) researchers to the field of hermeneutics. It begins by sketching out a brief history of hermeneutics. It highlights that hermeneutics, as the art or practice of interpretation, is an intellectual tradition. It further suggests that there are different views as to what is being ‘recovered’ in the process of interpretation. This article proceeds to propose that the development of hermeneutics can be characterized as a gradual expansion of the nature of the ‘text’ to be interpreted: from the notion of obscure (often religious) texts to seemingly obscure texts (such as art and music) to everyday life as a text; or from a methodology for interpreting obscure texts to an ontology of social life as fundamentally hermeneutic. This article closes with some conclusions and implications for IS researchers — both for their research practice and their objects of study.

Keywords: information system, hermeneutics, history, interpretation, obscure texts, IS researchers

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