Volume 22, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1385-1535
  • E-ISSN: 1875-7324


The position of the researcher in a responsive complexity approach

Frits Simon

Working from a complexity perspective within social sciences demands that the researcher has a different attitude. The complex responsive process approach as developed by Stacey c.s. puts forward ideas for this different attitude. A researcher needs to embody complexity instead of taking a distant, analytic stance.

Stacey c.s. departs from a non-dualistic approach in which a researcher unavoidably takes part in a dynamic and unpredictable social world. There is no possibility to step out of this world, because the social world emerges through the many human interactions. Conducting research and taking up the perspective that Stacey c.s. offers means reflecting auto-ethnographically upon one’s experiences because research consists of actions in the social world with others. Therefore, the validation of the research will also have to take place responsively. Embodying complexity in doing research leads to accepting uncertainty, being modest and frank, acting ethically and being aware of the performative consequences of the research.


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