Fusing horizons in qualitative research: Gadamer and cultural resonances

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In this article, I explore the intersection between Hans Georg Gadamer’s ‘fusion of horizons’ and interpreter’s ‘prejudices,’ together with the concept of cultural resonances as they pertain to qualitative research in psychology. I define cultural resonances as the researcher’s different cultural associations and/or connotations (e.g., myths, legends, popular media references), that emerge in an interpretive encounter with a text. Through a reading of Gadamer’s theory, I further explain how cultural resonances are contained within what he referred to as the interpreter’s language, prejudice, horizon, and play. Therefore, inspired by Gadamer’s assertion that understanding is always a process in which different worlds of knowledge (horizons) fuse together, and with reference to psychoanalytic reverie, Boesch’s concepts of cultural psychology, and narrative theory, I discuss cultural resonances as a horizon that inevitably unfolds in qualitative research. Finally, relying on the different topics discussed in the article, I offer a Gadamer-inspired framework for using cultural resonances in qualitative interpretation. The limitations of this framework, as well as its advantages, are discussed, with regard to reflexivity, power, rigor, and cultural sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-783
Number of pages16
JournalQualitative Research in Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date2020
StatePublished - 2022


  • Cultural resonances
  • Gadamer
  • hermeneutics
  • interpretive research

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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