Human Studies

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 127–146 | Cite as

On the Very Idea of Social Construction: Deconstructing Searle’s and Hacking’s Critical Reflections

  • Martin EndreßEmail author
Theoretical / Philosophical Paper


The starting point of the following inquiry addresses John Searle’s and Ian Hacking’s most prominent critique of contemporary “constructionism” in the 1990s. It is stimulated by the astonishing fact that neither Hacking nor Searle take into account Peter Berger’s and Thomas Luckmann’s classical essay and sociological masterpiece The Social Construction of Reality in their contributions. Critically revisiting Searle’s and Hacking’s critique on the so-called constructivist approach, the article demonstrates that both authors have failed to put forth a sociologically valid understanding of the approach in question. The following analysis aims to deconstruct the conceptualizations offered by Searle and Hacking, and to reconstruct and defend the original sense of the term “social construction” as most prominently introduced by Berger and Luckmann to sociology, and social sciences in general.


Social construction Constructionism Constructivism Social ontology Institutional facts Interactive kinds Relativism 



I am indebted to Dave Poitras for his much appreciated editorial help. I have had the opportunity to discuss an earlier version of this paper intensively with Stefan Nicolae and Benjamin Rampp. A quite earlier version had been read by Hisashi Nasu. My thanks are extended to all.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TrierGermany

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