Ken Gergen's argument for social constructionism

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Title: Ken Gergen's argument for social constructionism
Authors: Carr, Alan
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Date: 2001
Abstract: Gergen has highlighted three critiques of representationalism. The representationalist position, which underpins the empirical approach taken in mainstream psychology and much of first order family therapy, assumes that statements bear a map-like correspondence to the objects they describe. The ideological critique of representationalism argues that statements about objects do not correspond to the objects because accurate perception and reporting of perception is distorted by ideology. The literary-rhetorical critique of representationalism points out that statements about perceived objects do not correspond to those objects because all statements are determined more by language and than by the objects being described. In the social critique of representationalism, it is argued that statements about objects do not correspond to those objects because they are determined more by the social context within which the statements are made than by the perceived objects. Modern psychology and much of first order family therapy and traditional mental health practices which is based on representationalism must change its focuses and in future continue empirical work but within a pragmatic frame of reference; subject modernist scientific narratives to cultural and historical analysis; explore the ethical implications of choosing particular lines of inquiry and scientific frames of reference; and analyze issues such as identity or emotions within a social-constructionist rather than an individualistic framework.
Type of material: Book Chapter
Publisher: Edwin Mellen Press
Keywords: RepresentationalismPsychologyGergen, Kenneth J.
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Is part of: Carr, A. (eds.). Clinical Psychology in Ireland, Volume 4: Family Therapy Theory, Practice and Research
Appears in Collections:Psychology Research Collection

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