4 Methodology in:

Lilija Wiebe

Rethinking Social Integration, page 51 - 58

Comparing Martha Nussbaum's Capabilities Approach and Friedrich Heckmann's Theory of Integration for the Context of Refugees

1. Edition 2020, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-4434-6, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-7448-0,

Series: Wissenschaftliche Beiträge aus dem Tectum Verlag: Sozialwissenschaften, vol. 93

Tectum, Baden-Baden
Bibliographic information
51 4 Methodology 4.1 Introduction This chapter focuses on the methodology of this study. The goal and method of this study is to compare two theories in order to find options for complementation. People constantly make comparisons, whether in everyday life or in the workplace. In doing so, we use a comparison criterion that leads to an evaluation of the compared objects; for example, different comparison criteria are used for shopping. Goods are distinguished as fresher, cheaper, better, more modern, fairer etc., which shows that there are different types of comparison that can be very subjective and it also demonstrates that comparisons can have different purposes. Firstly, this chapter presents the method of comparative theory analysis in general; secondly, it discusses the procedure, the type, as well as the function of the coordinated theory analysis, which is the chosen method for this study. 4.2 Theory Comparison Theories are compared to each other in order to produce “relations knowledge”. In doing so, findings on at least two “comparison objects” are placed in a ratio based on a comparison criterion, so that “relations knowledge” is created (Greshoff 1999a:16). The aim is to find out whether the comparison objects are equal or alternatives to each other. The results obtained by the comparison can serve as orientation for a decision, as basis of a discussion or as mutual enrichment for both comparison objectives (Greshoff 1999b:237). 4.2.1 Approaches to theory comparison The theologian Hartmut von Sass categorises comparisons regarding their reasonableness, types and functions. To distinguish whether a comparison makes sense or not he sets four indicators: (1) the comparing elements; (2) their context; (3) the aim of the comparison; and, (4) its context (Sass 2011:28). For a comparison, the similarity of the comparison objects is not decisive, but rather the similarity of the contexts in which the objects are. Sass is of the opinion that the consideration of these indicators in a comparative work will clarify the validity and rationality of a comparison (:28). For this study the aim of the comparison is given in chapter 1 in the problem statement and the research objectives, while the context of the 52 aim of the comparison is explained in chapter 3. The comparing elements and their context are discussed in chapters 5 and 6. Further to the indicators for the reasonableness of a comparison, Sass distinguishes five types of comparisons, which he categorises by their comparison criterions (:39): Temporality: diachronic – synchronic Causality: genetic - typological Normativity: no preference – asymmetric Integrity: closed - open Stability: stable - emergent30. The differences between these types are explained in detail under 4.2.3 Characteristic of the comparison. Theories can be distinguished through their functions. Sass offers five functions of theory comparison (:40–44), which are: Comparison as knowledge gain: The aim is that by relating two theories something “new” inside the “old” will be discovered. Comparison as conclusion: This form of comparison includes the possibility to make inductive conclusions during the process of comparison. Comparisons as explanatory short-cuts: Comparison can be used to illustrate a point through comparing it with something the audience knows. In the sense of: “this lollipop tastes like a strawberry”. This comparison gives only information about the taste but not, for example, about the consistency or colour of the two comparison objects. Comparison as orientation: If a person wants to know his/her own placement he/she has to orient him/herself to something. Thereby he/she has to compare his/her position, location, financial situation, etc., with that of someone or something else. Comparison as irritating - corrective testing: This form of comparison has the function to compare things, which actually cannot be compared. The following irritation is to be used productively. 30 Translation by the author. Original: “Temporalität: diachron - synchron; Kausalität: genetisch - typologisch; Normativität: präferenzlos - asymmetrisch; Vollständigkeit: geschlossen - offen; Stabilität: stabil – emergent.“ 53 The comparative function that this study has, is stated under 4.2.3 Characteristic of the comparison. The sociologist Rainer Greshoff believes that at the beginning of a comparative study the fundamentals of the respective theories should be presented in a assessable position (Greshoff 2008:193). In the next step, it should be examined whether the two theories are equal or alternative to each other. It is not a question of evaluating the theories, but instead the overlaps of the two theories are to be clarified (:191). Only when the weak points, similarities and the problem areas of both theories are known, the respective positions can be regarded as critical entities to each other. From this knowledge progress complementary solutions can be developed (:194). This study builds on these three steps as they are described by Greshoff. The following figure summarizes the individual steps and clarifies where exactly these can be found in the chapters of this study: Figure 4.1 Three steps of theory comparison according to Greshoff 4.2.2 Coordinated Theory Comparison Since the aim of this study is to find out whether a combined theory of the Capabilities Approach and Heckmann’s Integration Theory is able to direct the focus of integration theories away from the weaknesses and towards the capabilities of the refugees, a method designed to connect 54 two theories was chosen, namely, the “Coordinated Theory Comparison” according to Schneider. The focus of the Coordinated Theory Analysis is to identify problem areas in the theories that may contain complementary solutions. To achieve this, the methodology followed is as described in 4.2. Although the Coordinated Theory Analysis assumes that the problem context and the (main) concepts of the respective theories are known, I will present both theories at the beginning of the chapters 5 and 6. After this brief presentation of the theories focus is placed on the content that is needed to answer the research question. To discuss the equality or alternativity of the theories, both are related to the basic aspects of each other. In concrete terms, this means that in Chapter 5, the relation between Heckmann’s Theory and capabilities is discussed. In addition, it will be identified to what extent integration conditions and the Capabilities Approach of Nussbaum match. For Chapter 6 that means, that the relationship between the Capabilities Approach and the thematic fields of refugees and integration is explained. The overlap between the core capabilities according to Nussbaum and the four dimensions of integration are also presented. The examples of the application of the theories, in both chapters, have the function of showing that there are already overlaps in the two thematic fields/theories. The sections on strengths and limitations in chapters 5 and 6 serve to display the potency and limits, and the possible supplementary requirements in either theory. This is done to extend the interpretation and explanation potential and possibilities of supplementation of the Capabilities Approach to the Theory of Successful Integration. This way of comparing two theories makes it possible to fill in gaps in either one or both of the two comparative theories. To fill these gaps one or both of the comparative theories might have to be complemented and thereby refined (Schneider 1999:290). 4.2.3 Characteristic of the comparison According to the earlier described comparison typology of Sass (Sass 2011:39), the coordinate theory comparison in this work will have the following characteristics: Temporality: diachronic – synchronic The comparison between Heckmann’s Theory of Successful Integration and Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach will, in relation to its temporality, be synchronic. A synchronic comparison displays the differences and similarities of the two comparing objects at one point in time (A and B at t1). The point in time for this comparison is the time when I 55 wrote this study. In contrast, a diachronic comparison is comparison of one object at different times (A at t1 and t2) (:34–35). Causality: genetic – typological The theory comparison chosen here is typological since it does not determine or influence the contacts that have led to the two theories. Instead, the analogies and similarities are placed in the foreground. For example: a genetic comparison of an election forecast on one party at two different times (A at t1 and t2) would ask about the influencing factors between A at t1 and A at t2 to explain or understand the election forecast. But this work compares the analogies and similarities to figuring out how the two theories can be merged (:35–36). Normativity: no preference – asymmetric A comparison is asymmetric when one comparing object has normative authority over another object. The opposite, no preference regarding the normativity, would be if both objects stand neutral to each other. This is nearly impossible since already the selection of a comparison criterion might bear the intention to show the superiority of one object over the other. This study is an asymmetric comparison, which is a descriptive and not a pejorative classification. The Capabilities Approach of Nussbaum is the normative element in this study, since this study is looking for possibilities to supplement the Integration Theory according to Heckmann with the Capabilities Approach. In doing so, the theory of Heckmann is not to be devaluated, instead it is looked at for possibilities of appreciative complementation (:36–37). Integrity: closed – open With a closed comparison, all comparison objects and intentions are fixed. The process of comparison does not provide scope for new ways of comparing. In contrast, the open comparison intentionally leaves space that can be filled in the process of comparing (:37). “The effect of open comparisons is not in a comparative measure, instead a free variation of the comparative elements − a variation that allows us to see something that, without the perhaps strange or quite absurd comparison, but nevertheless not common composition of the objects, would have remained concealed […]”31 (:38). In this study a German integration 31 Translation by the author. Original: “Der Effekt offener Vergleiche liegt nicht in einem komparatistischen Abmessen, sondern in einer freien Variation der Vergleichselemente – einer Variation, die uns etwas an ihnen sehen lässt, das ohne 56 theory is compared with an approach from development studies. This is an open comparison, as the comparison allows a new variation of the two theories that does not yet exist. Stability: stable – emergent Whether a comparison is stable or emergent depends on its “tertium comparationis”32. In the case of a stable comparison the tertium comparationis is “inclusive” in the comparative objectives or logically discernible. The opposite variant is an emergent way to determine the tertium comparationis (:38–39). The theories used in this study seem to be very different in themselves, and a comparative perspective does not seem obvious. The tertium emerges in the course of the study by comparing the commonalities and the differences as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the two theories. The resulting tertium comparationis is taken as the basis for combining the two theories. The function of this study can, according to Sass, be distinguished as “comparison as knowledge gain” (:40). This coordinated theory comparison is made to find out if the Capabilities Approach – according to Nussbaum − and Heckmann’s Theory of Integration can be complemented in order to direct the focus of integration theories away from the weaknesses and towards the capabilities of the refugees in Germany. 4.3 Use of literature sources for the comparison The theory comparison will be accomplished by using primary and secondary literature about Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach and Heckmann’s Integration Theory. The primary sources are the works of Martha Nussbaum and Friedrich Heckmann. The secondary literature includes critiques concerning Nussbaum and Heckmann’s expositions and is used to show the connections between the theories. The leading literature dates from the period of 1990-2015. For this literature comparison, primary sources of literature were preferred. Besides that, the literature was selected under the criteria of actuality and relevance for the topic of integration. die vielleicht befremdliche bis ganz absurde, sich jedenfalls nicht aufdrängende Zusammenstellung der Glieder verdeckt bliebe […].“ 32 “Tertium comparationis” (Latin = the third [part] of the comparison), the joint in which two different objects or facts coincide. 57 4.4 Ethical consideration The fact that this is a theoretical study and does not include a field research component reduces harm that could arise. Nevertheless, I act according to the “do-no-harm” principle. In my case that includes that I am dedicated to do no harm and I hope to bring about a positive effect for the integration discourse in Germany and, with it, for the refugees and migrants in my country. According to Rainer Greshoff theories comparisons are only justified when they contribute to improve people’s lives (Greshoff 2008:188). As in the words of Jacobsen and Landau, who call this intention the “dual imperative”: “This is the dual imperative: both to satisfy the demands of the academy and to ensure that the knowledge and understanding our work generates are used to protect refugees, influence governments, and improve the ways institutions like the United Nations or Non-Governmental Organizations do their work” (Jacobsen & Landau 2003:1). It is also my concern to respect and dignify refugees and migrants in my research. Besides that, I honour researchers and authors and their work that precede mine by acknowledging them as the source of intellectual ideas and thereby avoid plagiarism. 4.5 Conclusion A coordinated theory analysis according to Schneider is the fitting method to reach the research objectives of this study. The chosen comparison is a synchronic – typological – asymmetric – open – emergent type. The function that accompanies the choice of method is to gain knowledge. The justification lies in the fact that the aim of this study is to find a way to develop an integration theory that focuses at the strengths rather than the weaknesses of the immigrants. The validity and rationality of this comparison is guaranteed through complying with the indicators espoused by Sass. The structure of the study builds on the comparison steps according to Greshoff. After the method has been described in this chapter, it will be applied to Heckmann’s integration theory in the next chapter.

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This book is a reaction to the “refugee-crisis” in 2015 and the ensuing demand of science and practice for a stronger focus on the potentials and abilities of refugees in the integration process. To direct the focus of integration theories away from the weaknesses and towards the capabilities of the refugees, Heckmann’s Integration Theory – based on a comparative analysis – is related to Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach via interlinking both theories. The results show that an integration theory with the focus on the capabilities of the refugees empowers the individual immigrant to become a valued and active participant in the integration process. This study was researched using the situation in Germany as an example, but the results are transferable to social integration contexts in other countries as well and may give non-governmental organisations, social workers and government agencies an orientation for their future aid programming.