Encyclopedia of the History of Psychological Theories

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert W. Rieber

Social Constructionism

  • Kenneth J. Gergen
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0463-8_71

The phrase, social construction, typically refers to a tradition of scholarship that traces the origin of knowledge, meaning, or understanding to human relationships. The term “constructivism” is sometimes used interchangeably, but most scholarship associated with constructivism views processes inherent in the individual mind, as opposed to human relationships, as the origin of people’s constructions of the world. Although one may trace certain roots of social constructionism to Vico, Nietzsche, and Dewey, scholars often view Berger and Luckmann’s The Social Construction of Reality as the landmark volume. Yet, because of its lodgment in social phenomenology, this work has largely been eclipsed by more recent scholarly developments. One may locate the primary stimulants to the more recent development of social constructionist thought in at least three, quite independent movements. In effect, the convergence of these movements provides the basis for social constructionist inquiry today.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologySwarthmore CollegeSwarthmoreUSA