What is the point of saying constructionism is ‘social’? Partly as a result of the fact that the term in Berger and Luckmann’s influential book The Social Construction of Reality, these simple Una revisión filosófica al construccionismo social. Palabras clave autores: Kenneth Gergen, construccionismo social, teoría in the sociology of knowledge by Berger and Luckmann () and during the s. Social Phenomenology Berger, P. and Luckmann, T. () The Social () El construccionismo social y la teoria, practica e investicacion en psicoterapia.
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Social Construction and Relationalism: The author wishes to express his gratitude to Ken Gergen for his open and friendly willingness to participate in the interview, as well as for reviewing various drafts of this paper.
The author also wishes to thank Facebook group ‘Construccionismo Social’ for the questions offered for the interview. Finally, a special thank you to Mary Gergen and Natalia Evnitskaya for reviewing the text.
Social construction and relationalism: A conversation with Kenneth Gergen. Universitas Psychologica, 11 3 Kenneth Gergen is one of the most widely known contributors to social constructionist thought in the world today. Since the publication of his paper “Social Psychology as History” he has become a central player in what is known as the Social Psychology Crisis. In construccipnismo academic career, and from what he has called ‘Relational Theory’, Gergen has revisited a significant number of psychological constructs and has proposed various dialogical and collaborative practices in therapy, organizational development, education, community development, social work and peace-building, among other things.
This paper is a conversation with Gergen in which together we explore the particular way in which he understands the social constructionist movement.
It is also a conversation about relational theory and related practices. They represent relativism, postmodernism and constructionism: In the following pages, with the help of one of the major players involved in the Social Psychology Crisis, we will approach one of these beasts of critical social psychology: This term was coined in the sociology of knowledge by Berger and Luckmann and during the s and s it played an important role in the ‘linguistic turn’ in social sciences.
Trying to define what social constructionists have in common, Lock and Strong describe them as researchers who ‘are interested in delineating the processes eocial operate in the socio-cultural conduct of action to produce the discourses within which people construe them-selves’ p. Socila them, the last one is the best known in the field of consrtuccionismo Hibberd, Initially committed to discovering the laws of human social behavior through the experimental method, Gergen started his academic career in as Assistant Professor of Social Psychology at Harvard University.
There, he also participated in construdcionismo carried out in the Department of Social Relations, which embraced the efforts of psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists in various socail assignments. Surrounded by a rich academic and social context, Gergen began to feel dissatisfied with the discipline in which he was trained. Some private doubts about experimental social psychology bergeg to emerge in him.
Stephen Turner, The limits of social constructionism – PhilPapers
Gergen was asked “Where do you come from? Over the years, however, I have been examining the hopes and aspirations of this field with increasing disappointment. On the one hand, they did not allow me to give any meaning to my life and, on the other, I was struck by the inherent transience of most of the phenomena we are faced with” p. Kenneth Gergen was given a teaching position at the Department of Psychology at Swarth-more College in Pennsylvania in During his first years in that institution, he published several papers on conformity, personal consistency, self-presentation, personality and social interaction, social comparison, social attraction, and pro-social behavior, among other issues.
In his career took a turn with the publication of “Social Psychology as History” in which he expressed his doubts about experimental research as a neutral reading of human social behavior and presented it instead as a form of social influence. The ideas articulated there gave rise to heated controversies which subsequently turned Gergen into one of the compulsory references of Critical Social Psychology and the protagonist of what he called ‘The Social Constructionist Movement in Modern Psychology’ in According to Gergensocial constructionism, is an approach that is “concerned with explicating the processes by which people come to describe, explain, or otherwise account for the world including themselves in which they live.
It attempts to articulate common forms of understanding as they now exist, as they have existed in prior historical periods, and as they might exist should creative attention be so directed” p.
For Gergen, constructionism is basically a dialogue, i. Doing social constructionism basically means talking: This interview is part of such conversation: It recalls some of the debates in which he participated and poses questions about the encounters between social constructionism and Spanish-speaking academic traditions, and it is in itself a dialogue. The following text is divided into three sections.
The first one takes a predominantly biographical approach and presents Gergen to readers who are unfamiliar with his work. The second section raises some questions about the author’s particular way of understanding the social constructionism, which he calls ‘Relational Theory’.
The last section deals with the ‘relational practices’ that have gradually become one of Gergen’s main concerns. These practices have recently transformed him into a tireless innovator in different fields of applied psychology. I would like to start this interview by focusing on your personal history, and especially on historical events in which you participated.
Several decades ago, you proposed the idea that social psychology is a form of historical inquiry Gergen, According to your arguments, theories of social behavior are historical undertakings.
They are transient accounts of contemporary history.
The limits of social constructionism
Furthermore, they are a form of history-making since such theories modify the patterns of behavior that they intend to describe and explain. With this in mind, I consyruccionismo like to ask you the following: Do you think constructionism emerged to account for ongoing social events during the seventies?
And, in what sense might we say that social constructionism has made history? I do think the seeds bberger constructionism were planted during the events of the seventies, but I don’t really think constructionism cnostruccionismo as a means of accounting for these events.
The thesis of the Social Psychology as History article could be viewed as a luck,an step toward constructionism. That article did challenge several central presumptions in the empiricist philosophy of science from which the field drew its rationale.
However, at the time, I couldn’t really see a clear alternative to empiricism. It was partly the avalanche of criticism provoked by the Psychology as History piece that inspired a search for ways to sharpen my arguments, And I didn’t have far to look.
The ‘events of the seventies’ had incited a widespread critique of status quo modernism, and implied in much of that critique – especially in the history of science, literary theory and critical theory – were arguments that could be construccionimso into what would become the basis of a social constructionist alternative to empiricism. Has constructionism ‘made history’?
There are certainly many ways in which this question can be answered affirmatively. Constructionist ideas now circulate widely across the social sciences and humanities, and even in some corners of the construccilnismo sciences and theology. This circulation is also global.
Contrary to positivism – in which only ’empirically justified’ accounts are honored – con-structionist ideas invite all cultures to the table of deliberation. There is also the tremendous impact that constructionist ideas have had on various professional practices – in therapy, organizational development, education, community development, social work, peace-building, and the like.
Modernism remains dominant, but the signs of transformation are everywhere. The publication of “Social Psychology as History” was followed by a series of critical replies and even attacks on your work. Lock and Strong have described these replies as vociferous and personal, but at the same time highlighted your openness to dialogue. This openness would not be shown by your critics. Inwhen you published The Social Constructionist Movement in Modern Psychology, you still anticipated a strong resistance against constructionist thought within the field of psychology.
Resistance that you probably face quite often. Can you tell us a bit more about your attempts to have fruitful exchanges with those of your colleagues who have opposed your proposals?
How receptive to constructive discussions about constructionism have mainstream psychologists been? Constructive discussions with mainstream psychologists in the U. There are many reasons for this. I think American culture in general is less intellectually oriented, with psychologists, much like the business community, simply wishing to get on with productive work production. Deliberating about what one is doing is viewed as wasted time.
Then there is the deep institutional entrenchment of positivism -with grant funds, journal publications, and advancement in the field, all tied to publishing experimental data. Luckmam this enterprise loses its rationale, so does the scientist lose direction, and indeed, his or her basis of self-respect. There is also the problematic way in which con-structionist arguments have often been put, and here I am guilty as well.
Too often they are launched as a kind of annihilating critique, a critique that also takes on the demeanor of superiority, as if ‘we know; and you are ignorant. But in my opinion it also undermines one of the most important aspects of constructionist thought, namely, that there is no true or objective match between words and whatever exists.
Connstruccionismo, a constructionist does not occupy any kind of moral or ontological high ground from which to claim superiority. What’s invited is a kind of humility, a recognition that ‘we are all in this life together’ and, if we wish to survive, or we have hopes for a better future, we need to work it out together.
One of the achievements of social constructionism is, without a doubt, the way it has spread throughout the world. Indeed, social con-structionist ideas have been well received in many countries. So now I would like to ask you about the effect of your ideas in the Spanish-speaking countries, and I will begin by asking you about your contact with Spain.
Could you tell us a bit about this link? He had independently been engaged in a critique of empiricist social psychology, and I think he found support in my early writings for the directions he was pursuing. He was responsible for several of my visits to Spain and to UAB, and those times together are very special to me. I also admired so much the way in which he nurtured and inspired the younger generation of students around him. He was dedicated to their well-being and to seeing them into productive careers.
For me, he was a model. He is a treasure. In your book Relational Being Gergen, luvkman, p. However, I refer to this episode because it seems to represent clearly your academic work at the time. Lupicinio remembers that encounter as a clash between relativism and realism. Would you agree with this interpretation of what happened?
That is quite a reasonable interpretation, given Searle’s other writings. In his early work on speech acts and intentionality berrger writes both as a realist and a dualist. In his book on the social construction of reality written just after the Gerona meeting he makes a strong distinction between institutional facts socially constructed and brute facts. The latter presumably exist independently of human interpretation.
So, clearly, what seemed like ontological relativism to him was the enemy. Actually, my way of thinking about social construction is not ontologically relative. Rather, for me, constructionism remains ontologically mute.