ArticlePDF Available


The social constructionism perspective says that we never know what universal true or false is, what is good or bad, right or wrong; we know only stories about true, false, good, bad, right or wrong. The social constructionism abandons the idea of constructivist that individual’s mind represents a mirror of reality. The constructionism is focused on relations and sustains the individual’s role in social construction of realities. „Maps for the same territory” seems to be the essence of constructivist. The social constructionism is not interested to create maps; it surprises the processes that maps form. Our maps are formed from our experience and how we perceive them. All our maps are differing maps of the same world. Each of us creates our own worlds from our perceptions of the actual world. The social constructionism sees the language, the communication and the speech as having the central role of the interactive process through which we understand the world and ourselves.
ISSN: 2066-6861 (print), ISSN: 2067-5941 (electronic)
Alexandra GALBIN
Social Research Reports, 2014, vol. 26, pp. 82-92
The online version of this article can be found at:
Published by:
Expert Projects Publishing House
Covered by Index Copernicus International
Directory of Open Access Journals
On behalf of:
Center for Program and Social Development
Aditional services and information about Social Research Reports
can be found at:
Alexandra GALBIN1
The social constructionism perspective says that we never know what universal
true or false is, what is good or bad, right or wrong; we know only stories about
true, false, good, bad, right or wrong. The social constructionism abandons the
idea of constructivist that individual’s mind represents a mirror of reality. The
constructionism is focused on relations and sustains the individual’s role in social
construction of realities. „Maps for the same territory” seems to be the essence of
constructivist. The social constructionism is not interested to create maps; it
surprises the processes that maps form. Our maps are formed from our experience
and how we perceive them. All our maps are differing maps of the same world.
Each of us creates our own worlds from our perceptions of the actual world. The
social constructionism sees the language, the communication and the speech as
having the central role of the interactive process through which we understand the
world and ourselves.
Keywords: social reality, constructionism, constructivist, epistemology.
What is Social Constructionism?
Social Constructionism or the social construction of reality is a theory of
knowledge of sociology and communication that examines the development
jointly constructed understanding of the world. Social constructionism may be
defined as a perspective which believes that a great deal of human life exists as it
does due to social and interpersonal influences (Gergen, 1985, p. 265). Although
genetically inherited factors and social factors are at work at the same time, social
constructionism does not deny the influence of genetic inheritance, but decides to
concentrate on investigating the social influences on communal and individual
life. The subjects that social constructionism is interested in are those to do with
what anthropologists call culture, and sociologists call society: the shared social
1 Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Iasi,
ROMANIA. E-mail:
aspects of all that is psychological. There are several versions of social
constructionism with different writers making different emphases. Two distin-
guishing marks of social constructionism include the rejection of assumptions
about the nature of mind and theories of causality, and placing an emphasis on the
complexity and interrelatedness of the many facets of individuals within their
communities. Causality may exist within specific cultures but much work needs
to be done before these connections can be described with any certainty (Owen,
1995, p.15). Social constructionism involves challenging most of our common-
sense knowledge of ourselves and the world we live in. This means that it does not
just offer a new analysis of topics such as ‘personality’ or ‘attitudes’ which can
simply be slotted into our existing framework of understanding. The framework
itself has to change, and with it our understanding of every aspect of social and
psychological life (Burr, 1995, p. 12).
Social constructionism is closely related to social constructionism in the sense
that people are working together to construct artifacts. However, there is an
important difference: social constructionism focuses on the artifacts that are
created through the social interactions of a group, while social constructionism
focuses on an individual’s learning that takes place because of their interactions in
a group. According to constructionism, particular radical constructionism, the
child functions in relation to its environment, constructing, modifying and inter-
preting the information s/he encounters in his/her relationship with the world
(von Glaserfeld, 1995, p. 5). The individual’s capacity to construct his/her own
understanding of the world is connected with thinking and with the fact that the
individual is able to construct. The constructionism is a semiotic paradigm which
begins from the interpretative axiom according to the map through the reality is
read, is nothing but a continuous negotiation. Any type of speech is interpreted as
a social construction reality from a cultural consensus. The meanings of the
concepts under them are taken from scientific language in cultural discourse, is a
paradigmatic model, relatively independent of the scientific comes from. The
cultural derivation of the meaning underlines the semantic convergence of any
socio-cultural paradigms. In the mental plan produces the most profound re-
organization, by passing from the understanding of the objective world to the
model of a plurality of worlds whose indeterminacy is theoretically (Sandu, Ponea,
2011; Cojocaru, Bragaru, & Ciuchi, 2012). As an author sustains the construc-
tionism abandons the idea according that the individual’s mind represent the
mirror of reality. The constructionism is based on relations and sustains the role of
individual in the social construction of realities (Cojocaru, 2005; Cojocaru, 2013).
According to McLeod (1997), there are several features of social constructionism.
First, social constructionists reject the traditional positivistic approaches to know-
ledge that are basically no reflexive in nature. Second, social constructionists take
a critical stance in relation to taken-for-granted assumptions about the social
world, which are seen as reinforcing the interests of dominant social groups.
Third, social constructionists uphold the belief that the way we understand the
world is a product of a historical process of interaction and negotiation between
groups of people. Fourth, social constructionists maintain that the goal of research
and scholarship is not to produce knowledge that is fixed and universally valid,
but to open up an appreciation of what is possible. Finally, social constructionism
represents a movement toward redefining psychological constructs such as the
“mind,” “self,” and “emotion” as social constructed processes that are not intrinsic
to the individual but produced by social discourse. An integration of the existing
literature on social constructionism (e.g., Gergen & Davis, 1985; McNamee &
Gergen, 1992) shows that there are several cardinal principles emphasized in
social constructionism. These include: realities are socially constructed; realities
are constituted through language; knowledge is sustained by social processes; and
reflexivity in human beings is emphasized. Society is viewed as existing both as
a subjective and objective reality. Social constructionism focuses on meaning and
power. Meaning is not a property of the objects and events themselves, but a
construction. Meaning is the product of the prevailing cultural frame of social,
linguistic, discursive and symbolic practices (Cojocaru, & Bragaru, 2012). Persons
and groups interacting together in a social system form, over time, concepts or
mental representations of each other’s actions. These concepts eventually become
habituated into reciprocal roles played by the actors in relation to each other. The
roles are made available to other member of society to enter into and play out, the
reciprocal interactions are said to be institutionalized (Cojocaru, 2010). In this
process of this institutionalization meaning is embedded in society. Knowledge
and people’s conception (and belief) of what reality is become embedded in the
institutional fabric of society (Berger and Luckman, 1996 pp. 75-77). Social
constructionism can be described as part of the movement in postmodernism in
that it attempts to “replace the objectivist ideal with a broad tradition of ongoing
criticism in which all productions of the human mind are concerned” (Hoffman,
1991, p. 1) and is inextricably linked to postmodernism as a set of lenses that
enforces an awareness of the way in which we perceive and experience the world.
In essence, social constructionism is the claim and viewpoint that the content of
our consciousness, and the mode of relating we have to other, is taught by our
culture and society; all the metaphysical quantities we take for granted are learned
from others around us (Owen, 1995, p. 186). From a social constructionist per-
spective, language is more than just a way of connecting people. People ‘exist’ in
language. Consequently the focus is not on the individual person but rather on the
social interaction, in which language is generated, sustained, and abandoned
(Gergen & Gergen, 1991). Furthermore, Berger and Luckman (cited in Speed,
1991, p. 400) state that people socially construct reality by their use of agreed and
shared meaning communicated through language. Thus, our beliefs about the
world are social inventions. Anderson and Goolishian (1988) concur that from the
social constructionist perspective there are no ‘real’ external entities that can be
accurately mapped or apprehended. We are thereby forced to resign our cherished
position as ‘knowers’ and our assumptions that there are ‘facts’ that we can come
to know. These ‘facts’, along with other ideas and assumptions, are social con-
structions, artifact of socially mediated discourse. However, this does not mean
that anything goes (Gergen, 1985). Knowledge and systems are inherently de-
pendent upon communities of shared intelligibility and vice versa. They are,
therefore, governed to a large degree by normative rules that are historically and
culturally situated. As a result, social constructionists do not claim to provide the
‘truth’. Gergen (1999) claims that in numerous instances, the criteria, which are
invoked to identify ‘behaviours’, ‘events’ or ‘entities’, are largely circumscribed
by culture, history and social context. Therefore, a social constructionist per-
spective, as opposed to a constructivist perspective, “locates meaning in an
understanding of how ideas and attitudes are developed over time within a social,
community context” (Dickerson & Zimmerman, 1996, p. 80). Hoffman (1991, p.
5) states that all knowledge evolves in the space between people, in the realm of
the ‘common world’ or the ‘common dance’. Only through the on-going con-
versation with intimates does the individual develop a sense of identity or an
inner voice. Anderson and Goolishian (cited in Hart, 1995, p. 184), add that “we
live with each other in a world of conversational narrative, and we understand
ourselves and each other through changing stories and self descriptions”.
Social constructionism regards individuals as integral with cultural, political
and historical evolution, in specific times and places, and so resituates psycho-
logical processes cross-culturally, in social and temporal contexts. Apart from the
inherited and developmental aspects of humanity, social constructionism hypo-
thesizes that all other aspects of humanity are created, maintained and destroyed
in our interactions with others through time. The social practices of all life begin,
are recreated in the present and eventually end. For psychotherapy, this view
emphasizes the importance of the acquisition, creation and change of emotional
behavior, therapeutic ability and ways of interpreting things and people. Because
the genetic material of each race and region is different, as well as the cultural
practice, then we say right from the start that there is no universal human nature.
What social constructionism shows to be important are the ways in which so-
cialization and enculturation, amongst the people we have known, plus the current
influence of those whom we now know, are the most active in shaping our mutual
existence with others (Owen, 1995, p. 161). Social constructionism argues that
true objectivity is absent in the human sciences because all methods require one
set of subjective humans to rate another set of subjective humans. So, “the tool for
knowing” is inevitably subjective people themselves. As regards the community
of human scientists, until a truth-claim is acceptably demonstrated to be a uni-
versal or local truth, then it must be held separate and used only with caution.
However, many human scientists throw caution to the wind and put their belief
and life force into provisional claims which are not shared by the whole commu-
nity of workers.
Social construction talk is all the rage. But what does it mean and what is its
point? The core idea seems clear enough. „To say of something that it is socially
constructed is to emphasize its dependence on contingent aspects of our social
selves. It is to say: This thing could not have existed had we not built it; and we
need not have built it at all, at least not in its present form. Had we been a different
kind of society, had we had different needs, values, or interests, we might well
have built a different kind of thing, or built this one differently” (Boghossian,
2001). The inevitable contrast is with a naturally existing object, something that
exists independently of us and which we did not have a hand in shaping. There are
certainly many things, and facts about them, that are socially constructed in the
sense specified by this core idea: money, citizenship and newspapers, for example.
None of these things could have existed without society; and each of them could
have been constructed differently had we so chosen (Boghossian, 2001). As Ian
Hacking rightly observes, however, in his recent monograph, The Social
Construction of What? (1999), social construction talk is often applied not only to
worldly items – things, kinds and facts – but to our beliefs about them. Consider
Helene Moussa’s The Social Construction of Women Refugees (1992). „Clearly,
the intent is not to insist on the obvious fact that certain women come to be
refugees as a consequence of social events. Rather, the idea is to expose the way
in which a particular belief has been shaped by social forces: the belief that there
is a particular kind of person – he woman refugee – deserving of being singled out
for special attention” (Boghossian, 2001, p.6).
Varieties of Constructionism
What is social constructionism? Sometimes called a movement, at other times
a position, a theory, a theoretical orientation, an approach; psychologists remain
unsure of its status. At its most general it serves as a label denoting a series of
positions that have come to be articulated after the publication of Berger and
Luckmann’s influential work in 1966 but that have been influenced, modified and
refined by other intellectual movements such as ethno methodology, social studies
of science, feminism, post structuralism, narrative philosophy and psychology,
post-foundational philosophy and post-positivist philosophy of science, and more
(see Burr, 1995). That there is no single social constructionist position is now
more obvious than ever, and that positions that have never labeled or identified
themselves as social constructionism are sometimes labeled in this way simply
adds to the confusion. Like the term ‘postmodernism’, social constructionism is
not a single target (for its critics) or a single movement (for its enthusiasts)
(Henderikus, 2001, p. 294). The frequent conflation of postmodernism with social
constructionism adds to the confusion, since the former is even more ambiguous
a label, not to mention that in many respects social constructionism is thoroughly
and respectably modernist in intent and practice. Of course, having said all this, it
is not out of the question that a list could be drawn up with appropriate similarities
and some key set of defining features found that many could agree do function as
central to the enterprise called ‘social constructionism’. But this is beside the
point. What counts as constructionism is often dependent on the author’s or
critic’s aims. For what seems important to many of our authors is to critique a
particular version, namely that associated with Ken Gergen. One of the more
interesting phenomena has been the reluctance among some of our authors to
tackle more than what was represented by Gergen’s writings. This is fair enough
insofar as an author may choose whatever target is deemed crucial to the author’s
purposes. Nonetheless, the focus on a single position sometimes lapses into a
version of a historicism, ignoring the rich traditions that have led the social
sciences to choose something like ‘social constructionism’ at the start of the 21st
century. For what is at play here are not just competing claims for intellectual
priorities and changes, shifting academic fashions and the repudiation of the
scientism that reigned so long in the form of positivism: the emergence of social
constructionism also coincides with the coming of age of a generation of scholars
whose academic tutelage was colored by political activism and the rapid growth
of post-war universities, followed by their recent and equally dramatic restruc-
turing as branch plants of the corporate world (Henderikus, 2001, p. 295).
History and development
Social constructionism has many roots - some are in existential-phenomenolo-
gical psychology, social history, hermeneutics and social psychology (Watzlawick
1984). Several of its major themes have occurred in the writings of authors at
different times and places. Giambattista Vico, Immanuel Kant and Karl Marx
have all made constructionist and constructivist remarks. The disciplines of the
history of ideas and the sociology of knowledge also have much in common with
social constructionism. In Britain, two leading social constructionists are Rom
Harre at the University of Oxford and Michael Billig and his team at Lough-
borough University. Michael Billig’s Arguing and Thinking (1987) concludes that
attitudes are features of rhetoric. Rom Harre has written on the social construction
of personality and emotional behavior which has touched on some of the more
important implications for the theory and practice of therapy (1984). Harre has
also produced a series of works on the body, individuality, social life and mo-
tivation. Harre takes the work of Bakhurst on the Russian cultural-historical school
of Vygotsky, Leontiev, Luria, Voloshinov, Bakhtin and Ilyenkov, as being parti-
cularly social constructionist. For instance, Bakhurst describes a view of mind
that regards the capacity to think as the ability to live in a meaningful world
(Bakhurst, 1991). These views challenge the orthodoxy of current individualistic
psychology and the assumptions which it holds dear. Social constructionism
wonders to what degree people are individual and collective, the same as others or
different from them. Just because we can each say “I” and have separate bodies
does not mean that thoughts and emotions are located solely within individuals.
Rather, these exist between individuals. Humans are part of shared collective
aims, values and experiences.
A recent influence within social constructionism is to investigate the ways in
which events, processes and qualities are presented and modeled in language, the
discursive, which could be called linguistic analysis, as it concentrates on how
descriptions of what is real are made, passed on and change through time (Edwards
& Potter 1992, Grace 1987). The role language plays in memory has also been
tackled. But the study of appropriate language games does not reflect the interre-
lation of the non-verbal relationships of humanity in connection with the possible
ways of verbalizing them. The currently acceptable ways of talking about the
mind show the linguistic representation of ontological assumptions about the
nature of the mind. For instance, the mind in itself does not exist and never has or
ever will. The mind, like any other concept, is created by talk from professionals
and lay people as to what the mind is. The mind, as it is usually assumed to be is
the receptacle for “individuality” and “thoughts”. “Individuality” is a Western
assumption that people are separate and unique and fully self-responsible in all
aspects of their life, from catching a cold, to having children who become delin-
quents, or their career going into decline (Owen, 1995, p. 164).
Social constructionism as it is now infiltrating British and North American
psychology and social psychology cannot be traced to a single source. It has
emerged from the combined influences of a number of North American, British
and continental writers dating back more than thirty years. I shall give here what
may be considered an outline of its history and major influences, bearing in mind
that his history itself is only one possible constructions of the events (Burr, 1995,
p. 6). Many of the fundamental assumptions of social constructionism have been
alive and well living in sociology for guide some time. Sixty years ago Mead
(1934), writing in USA, founded ‘symbolic interactionism’ with his book Mind,
self and society. Fundamental to symbolic interactionism is the view that as
people we construct our own and each other’s identities through our everyday
encounters with each other in social interaction. In line with this way of thinking,
the sub discipline of etnometodology, this grew up in North America in the 1950s
and 1960s, tried to understand the processes by which ordinary people construct
social life and make sense of it to themselves and each other. But the major social
constructionist contribution from sociology is usually taken to be Berger and
Luckmann’s (1996) book The Social Construction of Reality. Berger and Luck-
mann’s anti-essentialist account of social life argues that human beings together
create and sustain all social phenomena through social practices. They see three
fundamental processes as responsible for this: externalization, objectivation and
internalization. People externalise when they act on their world, creating some
artifact or practice. For example, they may have an idea ( such as the idea that the
sun revolves around the earth) and externalise it by telling a story or writing a
book. But this then enters into the social realm; other people re-tell the story or
read the book, and once in this social realm the story or books begin to take on a
life of its own. The idea is expresses has become an object of consciousness for
people in that society (objectivation) and has developed a kind of factual existence
of truth; it seems to be out there, an objective feature of the world which appears
as natural, issuing from the nature of the world itself rather than dependent upon
the constructive work and interactions of human beings. Finally, because future
generations are born into a world where this idea already exists, they internalize
is as part of their consciousness, as part of their understanding of the nature of the
world. Berger and Luckmann’s account shows how the world can be socially
constructed by the social practices of people, but at the same time by experienced
by them as if the nature of their world is pre-given and fixed. We could say that
social constructionism itself has now achieved the status of an object. “In writing
this book and ostensibly describing it I am contributing to its objectivation in the
world. And in the future, students who will read this ad other books about social
constructionism will tend to think of it as an area of knowledge that has been
discovered rather as an effect to social processes. In writing this book, then I am
contributing to what might be called “the social construction of social con-
structionism” (Burr, 1995, p. 7).
A Postmodern Approach to Knowledge
Social constructionism can be seen as a source of the postmodern movement,
and has been influential in the field of cultural studies. Some have gone so far as
to attribute the rise of cultural studies (the cultural turn) to social constructionism.
Within the social constructionist strand of postmodernism, the concept of socially
constructed reality stresses the ongoing mass-building of world views by indi-
viduals in dialectical interaction with society at a time. The numerous realities so
formed comprise, according to this view, the imagined worlds of human social
existence and activity, gradually crystallized by habit into institutions propped up
by language conventions, given ongoing legitimacy by mythology, religion and
philosophy, maintained by therapies and socialization, and subjectively inter-
nalized by upbringing and education to become part of the identity of social
citizens. In the book “The Reality of Social Construction” the British sociologist
Dave Elder-Vass (2012) places the development of social constructionism as one
outcome of the legacy of postmodernism. He writes “Perhaps the most widespread
and influential product of this process [coming to terms with the legacy of
postmodernism] is social constructionism, which has been booming [within the
domain of social theory] since the 1980s’” (Elder-Vass, 2012, p. 12).
Social constructionism is a theoretical movement that brings an alternative
philosophical assumption regarding reality construction and knowledge produc-
tion. It is concerned with the ways in which knowledge is historically situated and
embedded in cultural values and practices. According to this approach, meanings
are socially constructed via the coordination of people in their various encounters;
therefore, it is always fluid and dynamic (Gergen & Gergen, 2012). In the last few
decades, social constructionism has been presented and embraced in different
areas of knowledge in the international literature. As a field of interest about the
constructed nature of reality, it has been influenced by different psychological,
philosophical, and social perspectives, such as the analytical philosophy, the
sociology of the knowledge, and the rhetoric (Gergen, 1994). Centering on the
process of the social construction of reality, social constructionist perspectives
have been used to support a variety of practices in the fields of education, health
care, community work, conflict resolution, and organizations. Although it cannot
be translated into a clear-cut set of guidelines, given the nature of its episte-
mological proposal, it has enriched a vari-ety of research and professional prac-
tices from different fields of knowledge with a generative vocabulary, allowing
innovative practices to emerge (Gergen & Gergen, 2012). Some of these practices
include a focus on strengths and what is already working well instead of on
problems and how to fix them, an emphasis on a diversity of perspectives instead
of on commonalities of ideas, transdisciplinary teams, decentralized decision
making, and increased flexibil-ity in terms of approaches and policies, all of
which are informed, in turn, by an appreciation for a multicultural and polyphonic
environment. Having a postmodern intelligibility, social constructionism invites a
review of some modern assumptions about knowledge production, such as (a)
individual rationality, (b) empirical evaluation, (c) language as representation,
and (d) the narrative of progress (McNamee & Hosking, 2012). In a constructionist
perspective, individual rationality is not conceived of as an attribute of individual
thinking but as a consequence of cultural convention. It is through the coordinated
actions with each other that the meaning of rationality is eventually reached. This
constructionist statement invites other forms of evaluating knowledge production,
which goes beyond a focus on individual rationality, and moves to relationality
and creativity with the ability to generate involvement and to promote change. In
the same way, the empirical method is not understood as conveying the correct
knowledge about reality, but as being a phenomenon defined and studied by a
specific theory and its methods. The results of the systematic observation of
reality are a priori circumscribed by the theory used. The constructionist invitation
is to comprehend how aspects of the world that are taken for granted are socially
constructed, thereby opening up space for a variety of alternative intelligibilities.
Methodologically, the challenge is not to prove and persuade the other about the
correct interpretation of the phenomenon, but to broaden the possibilities of
understanding. This fluid and dynamic approach has helped to foster commu-
nication, dialogue, and integration of perspectives.
Language, a fundamental aspect for the process of knowledge production, is
not conceived of as describing and representing the world, but as a way of
constructing it, being a form of social action. Language gains its meaning from its
use in context (Burr, 2003; Gergen, 1994; McNamee, 2004). The constructionist
approach emphasizes the ability to create realities through language, in its varied
forms of presenta-tion, stimulating a process of continuous creation.
Considering the critique of individual rationality, empir-ical evaluation, and
the representational view of language, there is a questioning of the narrative of
progress in science. Historical analysis of the recent developments of scientific
knowledge shows that it does not have a linear and cumulative nature that neither
has making achieved the control of nature yet, as it was intended by the modern
researchers, or science has led society to a life free of suffering. This analysis
helps to prevent the naive acceptance of scientific authoritative claims and me-
thods, and it also invites us to take scientific knowledge as an intelligibility that
may guide our actions depending on its contextual value. The constructionist
review of modern assumptions has important consequences for knowledge pro-
duction in the organizational field. First, it favors processes of deconstruction by
stimulating a reflexive stance in the production of the knowledge that allows a
critique of traditional practices in the society and its cultural implications. Second,
it promotes theoretical and practical reconstructions through generative theories
(Gergen, 1978) that can contribute to social transformation and promote the
approach between institutions as well as academia. Also, it invites openness to
alternative ways of producing and presenting knowledge, which goes beyond
traditional scientific texts, moving toward lively expressions of language that
capture the imagination of people (Watkins, Mohr, & Kelly, 2011). There is room
for narratives, social poetics, images, and videos in knowledge production and
expression. Knowledge, in this approach, is meant to offer new intelligibilities
and creatively construct new realities. Finally, it emphasizes the contextual value
of knowledge production and its practices, strengthening the liasion between
research and intervention, claiming the need of involvement and collaboration of
those who will use the knowledge in its production. It creates the scenario for an
enhanced sense of democratization, which sustains the primacy of utility, parti-
cipation, and social transformation in the assessment and use of knowledge, rather
than an adequate representation of reality.
The constructionist theory is very sensitive to changes generating new forms
of practices and behaviors. In times of rapid transformation in the world, social
constructionism can be a useful approach to address and embrace changes in
context, pointing to new possibilities of doing research and intervention. Besides
this, the option for the constructionist alternative has ethical implications. It is a
way of thinking and doing that moves away from expertise-based, rational,
, and result-focused models going toward more participatory, co-
creative, and process-centered ones.
Bakhurst, D. (1991). Consciousness and revolution in Soviet philosophy: From the
Bolsheviks to Evald Ilymekov. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Berger, P.L. & Luckmann, T. (1996). The social construction of reality: A treatise in the
sociology of knowledge. Hamondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Education.
Billig, M. (1987). Arguing and thinking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Boghossian, P. (2001). What is social Construction?, in Times Literary Supplement,
february 23, pp. 6-8.
Burr V. (2003). Social constructionism (2nd Ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Burr, V. (1995). An Introduction to Social Constructionism. London: Routledge.
Cojocaru, S. (2005). Metode apreciative in asistenta sociala, Iasi: Polirom.
Cojocaru, S. (2010). Appreciative supervision in social work. New opportunities for
changing the social work practice. Revista de cercetare si interventie sociala, 29,
Cojocaru, S. (2013). Appreciative Inquiry in Social Work, Lambert Academic Publishing.
Cojocaru, S., Bragaru, C. (2012). Using Appreciative Inquiry to Change Perceptions
Concerning the Satisfaction of Organization Members’ Needs. Transylvanian
Review of Administrative Sciences, 35E, 62-77.
Cojocaru, S., Bragaru, C., Ciuchi, O.M. (2012). The role of language in constructing
social realities. The Appreciative Inquiry and the reconstruction of organisational
ideology. Revista de Cercetare si Interventie Sociala, 36, 31-43.
Dickerson, V. C., & Zimmerman, J. L., (1996), Myths, misconceptions, and a word or two
about politics (Special edition on narrative, J. L. Zimmerman & V. C. Dickerson,
Eds.). Journal of Systemic Therapies.
Edwards, D. & Potter, J. (1992). Discursive psychology. London: Sage.
Elder-Vass, D. (2012). The Reality of Social Construction, Cambridge, University Press
Gergen K. J. (1978). Toward generative theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psy-
chology, 36, 1344-1360.
Gergen K. J. (1994). Realities and relationships. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Gergen K. J., Gergen M. (2012). Playing with purpose. Adventures in performative social
science. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
Gergen, K. J., & Davis, K. E. (Eds.). (1985). The social construction of the person. New
York: Springer-Verlag.
Gergen, K.J. (1985). Theory of the self: Impase and evolution. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.),
Advances in experimental social psychology. New York, Academic Press.
Gergen, K.J. (l991). The saturated self, New York: Basic Books.
Gergen, K.J. (1999). An invitation to social constructionism. London: Sage.
Glasersfeld, Ernst von, (1995). Radical Constructivism: A Way of Knowing and Le-
arning,London: Routledge Falmer.
Grace, G.W. (1987). The linguistic construction of reality, London: Croom Helm.
Hacking, I. (1999). The Social Construction of What? Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Harre, R. (1984). Social elements as mind. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 57,
Hart, S.L. (1995). A Natural-resource-based View of the Firm. Academy of Management
Henderikus J.S. (2001). Introduction: Social Constructionism and Its Critics, Sage Publi-
cations. Vol. 11(3): 291–296.
Hoffman, C. (1991). An introduction to Bilingualism, Longman Linguistic Library.
McLeod, J., (1997), Narrative and Psychotherapy. London: Sage Publications.
McNamee S. (2004). Social construction as a practical theory. Lessons for practice and
reflection in psychotherapy. In Pare D., Larner G. (Eds.), Critical knowledge and
practice in psychotherapy (pp. 9-21). New York, NY: Haworth Press.
McNamee S., Hosking D. M. (2012). Research and social change. A relational con-
structionist approach. New York, NY: Routledge.
McNamee, S., & Gergen, K. J. (1992). Therapy as social construction, London, Sage.
Mead, G., H. (1934). Mind, Self and Society: From the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist
(edited by Charles W. Morris).Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Moussa, H. (1992). The Social Construction of Women Refugees, a Journey of Dis-
continuities and Continuities, University of Toronto
Owen, I.R. (1995). El construccionismo social y la teoria, practica e investigacion en
psicoterapia: Un manifesto psicologia febomenologica. (Social constructionism
and the theory, practice and research of psychotherapy: A phenomenological
psychology manifesto), Trans de I. Caro, Boletin de Psicologia, 46, 161-186.
Sandu, A., & Ponea, S. (2011). New Approaches in Personal Development Field -
Appreciative Socialization Group, Ia[i: Lumen.
Speed, B. (1991). Reality exists O.K.? An argument against constructivism and social
constructionism. Journal of Family Therapy, 13(4), 395–409.
Watkins J.M., Mohr B.J., & Kelly R. (2011). Appreciative inquiry: Change at the speed
of imagination (2nd ed.). New York, NY: John Wiley.
Watzlawick, P. (Ed.). (1984). The invented reality: How do we know what we believe we
know? New York: London.
Wertsch, J. (1997). Mind as mediated action. New York: Oxford University Press.
... The theoretical rationale for studying faculty perceptions of HB-233 is based on social constructionism. Social constructionism suggests that people create their own understanding of reality, influenced by subjective perceptions, attitudes, and interactions with others (Galbin, 2014). The manner in which academics perceive the impact of HB-233 will affect how they respond to it, including how it affects their morale and methods of teaching. ...
... Social constructionist approaches are participatory, co-creative, and process-centred (Galbin, 2014). By enhancing our understanding of academics' social constructions of HB-233 and its impacts, this study can inform future legislative initiatives designed to promote viewpoint diversity. ...
Intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity are hotly debated topics in academia, marked by an increase in legislation focusing on intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity within academic settings. This study explores the impact of Florida House Bill 233 on public universities, including academics' morale. House Bill 233 purports to support intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity through four components: prohibiting shielding of students, staff, and academics from certain speech; requiring an annual assessment on intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity; creating a cause of action for certain video-or audio-recordings; and revising provisions related to protected expressive activity, university student governments, and codes of conduct. This study sampled 187 academics from four state universities. Findings indicate that while academics support intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity conceptually, most academics suggested the bill has negative impacts on intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity and faculty morale. Implications for future research and policy development are discussed.
... This leads to patterns of social interaction between students and their environment, which can assist teachers and students in creating effective learning environments since teachers can recognize the diversity and habits of students. This notion is consistent with constructivism, which identifies the importance of social and interpersonal interactions, as well as an individual's ties with their social environment, as the starting point for knowledge (Bozkurt, 2017;Endres & Weibler, 2017;Galbin, 2014). Instead of only remembering formulae or theorems, students are considered to grasp mathematical concepts if they can create cognitive links between new experiences and their prior comprehension of mathematics (Bujak et al., 2013;Esteban-Guitart & Moll, 2014;Haylock & Manning, 2018). ...
Full-text available
Mathematics class can cause many problems if students do not organize diversity and habits correctly. Using a sociograph to form a mathematics study group is one way to organize assortment in the mathematics class. Sociograph is a friendship pathway that appears in a math class. In this sense, this study aims to determine the impact of forming study groups based on friendship in a mathematics class on problem-solving abilities. A quasi-experimental research design with 30 students was used. A friendship questionnaire and a problem-solving test were used as instruments. In addition, an independent t-test was used to analyze the data. The study results indicate that study groups formed through friendship pathways (sociograph) have a more significant effect than those formed through other means. As a result, the formation of heterogeneous groups based on friendship can be used as an alternative to the formation of study groups.
... Tailor (2015) further submits that to construct identities, terminologies such as "gender, age, class, nationality, race and ethnicity" remain paramount themes to consider, thereby creating an aura of "other(s)" around the person or group whose identity is being constructed. Generally, in social construction theory, knowledge is produced or constructed around a phenomenon through the knowledge creator's rationality that presents a narration and representation through language (Galbin, 2014). This created identity then builds some frames around the victims, thus devaluing their goodwill. ...
Full-text available
For decades, the socio-political environment the press operates in had conditioned it to always build prominence around phenomena and people, using language as a strong carrier. Knowing full well that the press can escalate or de-escalate the salience of events through news reportage, media scholars saw the necessity for the institutionalization of some regulatory principles for the press. This is known as social responsibilities. This position paper interrogates the connection or disconnection between two media theories (framing and identity construction) and Nigerian journalism practice as codified by Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) code of ethics, using the farmer-herder crisis and Independent People of Biafra's (IPOB) call for secession as cases. Having identified a plethora of negative frames and constructed identities around the two cases selected from 19 empirical papers conducted between 2015 and 2021, the findings show that the Nigerian press (newspapers) lean more towards war and ethnic journalism than peace/solution-driven journalism while reporting issues related to the two cases. The paper argues that the journalism practice of the Nigerian press, most times, aligns with the propositions of framing and identity construction theories, but largely disconnects from its ethical principles. In order to have a socially responsible journalism practice in Nigeria, this paper joins the conversation on advocacy for peace/solution-driven journalism.
... Proliferarea a mers, după această perioadă, chiar mai departe. Astăzi, de exemplu, se consideră că există deosebiri între constructivismul social (social constructivism) şi construcţionismul social (social constructionism), iar în cadrul acestuia din urmă pot fi deosebite, de asemenea, alte două forme, construcţionismul "slab" şi cel "tare" (a se vedea, pentru detalii, Smith, 2011;Galbin, 2014;Burr, 2015 etc.). Revenind la subiect, în cadrul celui de-al doilea val de dispute s-au conturat două poziţii majore. ...
Full-text available
Rezumat: În scopul înţelegerii mai complexe şi mai profunde a fenomenelor psihologice şi sociale care pot face obiectul unei cercetări, este indicat să se elaboreze o fundamentare teoretică complexă, să se folosească mai multe metode şi să se îmbine tipuri diferite de cercetare (calitativă şi cantitativă). De asemenea, este recomandabil să se colecteze date din mai multe surse şi să se constituie echipe multidisciplinare în cadrul aceluiaşi program ştiinţific. Toate acestea sunt astăzi posibile prin dezvoltarea în ştiinţele sociale, începând cu anii ’70‑’80, a două abordări noi ale cercetării, triangularea şi metodele mixte. Deşi au multe aspecte în comun, ceea ce uneori provoacă confuzia lor, triangularea şi metodele mixte sunt diferite conceptual (Creswell, 2018; Denzin, 2012) şi au, totodată, istorii de dezvoltare diferite. În acest studiu este tratată una dintre cele două perspective, şi anume triangularea. Pentru început, se prezintă originea acestui concept şi teoretizarea sa în primele scrieri. Apoi se discută evoluţia triangulării şi principalele critici aduse de‑a lungul timpului. Subiectul ultimei părţi este relaţia triangulării cu metodele mixte şi posibila ei evoluţie. Cuvinte-cheie: triangulare, metode de cercetare, cercetare socială, validitate, metode mixte
... I applied the social constructionism worldview in my research. Social constructionism explains that social reality is the co-creation of human interactions amongst people (Galbin, 2014). I used the Narrative inquiry methodology as human stories are useful sources to understand their socio-cultural experiences in a context and storytelling is an easy way to share this with others (Connelly and Clandinin, 1990;Pavlenko, 2002, as cited in Berry, 2015. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
School leaders are persons in charge of a school's daily operations as well as its general wellbeing. The purpose of this study is to investigate the views and challenges of school leaders (headteachers in the context of Nepal) towards inclusion practices in their respective schools. A mixed approach was used to carry out data collection. The findings suggest that there is lack of support staff, resources and infrastructure, limited knowledge of inclusive education policies and teaching methods, which has created challenges for headteachers to incorporate activities that promote equity and inclusion. Furthermore, even though the headteachers believe that ensuring equity and inclusion in school falls under their responsibility, they have limited decision-making power. Overall, this study presents preliminary findings that will be used as a basis for developing an open course to improve school leaders' abilities through a different approach that views them as problem-solvers. Keywords: Equity; Inclusion; Headteachers; Government School
... This was a good fit for this study as the study aimed to explore how learners construct the meaning of their right to education. Furthermore, the aim was to see how they add to the existing knowledge of this right (Galbin, 2014). Since learners actively engage in their own learning experiences by collaborating with others (Glaserfeld, 1995), this paradigm helped to further explore how learners reshaped their understanding of the right to education through their personal experiences of the implementation of that right in their own school environments. ...
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts that education is a fundamental human right for everyone. Education promotes equality, but this can only be possible in the absence of social injustices within school systems. Social justice in education entails challenging any inequalities that may exist in the education system. This study focused on examining South African township high school learners’ definition of their right to education and views on its implementation. Using a qualitative approach, 45 high school learners (26 female and 19 male) who were purposively sampled from two township public high schools participated in semi-structured, in-depth individual interviews. The study was grounded in the social constructivism paradigm and data were analysed thematically. The findings of this study showed several shortfalls in the implementation of the right to education in the two schools. Despite a few positive developments, learners generally felt dissatisfied with the implementation of their right to education. Based on these findings, this study recommends the need to monitor activities in public schools to ensure that the right to education is fully implemented, to promote social justice in schools. Keywords: public school, right to education, social justice, the Constitution of South Africa, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, township
Full-text available
Moodle is one of the online learning management systems that has brought about dramatic innovation in teaching and learning methods. This research aims to study the use of Moodle as an online teaching platform to facilitate students' learning. It specifically aims to identify the factors that may impact students' accomplishments and the obstacles they face in using this online platform for their academic studies. This study applied the case study research design within the qualitative research paradigm. The purposive sampling technique was applied by taking third-year undergraduate students from a private university in Karachi, Pakistan. Data was collected through students' focus group discussions, teachers' interviews, and students' online performance on Moodle. The thematic analysis took place where the recorded data was first transcribed, and different codes were generated, and then categorized. The findings indicated that the factors contributing to students' accomplishments in using Moodle mainly depend on students' learning motivation and achievements and the collaboration and communication between them and the teacher via the e-learning platform. The results also demonstrated that the obstacles students faced related to the frequent disturbance in computer devices and misusing of online discussion forums by some classmates. It is recommended to fully orient students and teachers on using Moodle for learning and teaching purposes.
Full-text available
The discourse of this Qur'anic verse invites thought and research of divine psychic that has material space for science. This essay uses the method of approaching social constructionist discourse analysis. This article discusses discourse relating to the divinity and Karl Marx's comments on Religion by title “Religion as the ‘opium of the people’. He said religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, if people are to know and understand the real world, they must give up superstitious beliefs because they have a narcotic effect on the mind. the first requisite for the happines of the people is the abolition of religion”. The purpose of this article is not to provide evidence of the phenomenon or form of God with material eyes, but to the present relevant contextual discourse about the Al-Qur'an Surah Al-Fatihah verse 5 and a coherent response to Karl Marx's claim to the religion and the divine dimension is forgotten today.
Full-text available
Perhaps the most useful way to enter into the conversation about discursive therapies is to address what I see as a central issue that we must confront as spokespersons of therapy as social construction: What does it mean to approach therapeutic practice from a constructionist stance? What do we do, as therapists, once we propose that meaning emerges in the on-going flow of persons in situated activity? This concern gives rise to a related issue which I will touch upon as an exciting and vitally important direction in which we must now move: how do we assess or evaluate our therapeutic practice if meaning is understood as a local achievement? This question emerges as we confront both the continuing conversation around therapeutic practice and its relation to a constructionist orientation (e.g., this volume stands as one illustration). Our discussions might be well focused on appreciating conversations that challenge us to articulate what we mean when we talk of therapeutic practice as social construction.
Full-text available
The article explores the ways in which language is a factor in the generation of social realities. Having as a foundation social constructionism, the appreciative inquiry is a form of intervention in the organisational environment that can produce a rapid change in the way an organisation's members define the organisation they work in. Thus, the theory of social constructionism seems to be operational in the organisational space, as it focuses on the relations through which social actors construct realities. The approach of social constructionism starts from the assumption that the language people use in order to understand the world is a social artefact, the historical product of exchanges between people. During the meetings with representatives of governmental and nongovernmental organisations involved in the experiment, we recorded the adjectives and the metaphors they used in order to describe the organisational environment they worked in. The experiment proves the fact that the negative definitions given to the organisations in which the participants were operating could be transformed into positive or neutral definitions through an appreciative approach. As a rule, people use negative terms in order to describe the organisations they work in; however, an appreciative intervention can cause a rapid change in their language, which generates in its turn new organisational realities. The results obtained during research provide the opportunity to rethink the organisational environment through the filter of ideologies negotiated and constructed through dialogue and to use an appreciative approach in order to change them.
Full-text available
This study explored the innovative use of appreciative inquiry (AI) in the organizational environment for changing the perception concerning the satisfaction of its members' needs. The experiment started from the assumption that organizations are social constructions generated by the interpretations social actors have about this entity and about themselves, being the result of human interactions. The experiment used the appreciative inquiry as form of intervention, run in the four stages of the 4-D cycle. The results of the intervention show that, although appreciative inquiry was directed chiefly towards changing the perceptions concerning the satisfaction of the need for security, the interpretations given by organization members changed with regard to the satisfaction of all needs (security, basic needs, belonging, esteem and self-actualization). The study shows that motivation can be changed through an appreciative approach of events, through their reinterpretation within a process of dialogue and consensus; the reinterpretation of the organization as a text and the application of appreciative inquiry principles results in an organizational reconstruction as a process that can be run in a relatively short period of time. The positive changes of the organizational environment were also a result of the way the organization was researched. The appreciative interviews resulted in individual reinterpretations of organizational contexts, which were negotiated and assumed in the environment of the collectivity. The changes were supported by the organization members' involvement in building a shared vision, in making a plan in which every person is a voice in the organization, and in developing attachment and ownership in relation to the developed plans.
An Introduction to Bilingualism provides a comprehensive review of the most important aspects of individual and societal bilingualism, examining both theoretcial and practical issues. At the level of the individual, it addresses such questios as: What is involved in the study of bilingual children? What are the patterns of bilingual language acquisition? In which ways do the language competence and the speech of bilinguals differ from those of monolinguals? Topics that sometimes arouse controversy are explored - such as the question of whether there is a relationship between bilingualsim and a child's cognitive, psychological and social development. The book is also concerned with multilingualism, that is, bilingualsim as a societal phenomenon. It focuses on such issues as language choice in bilingual and multilingual communities, national identity and the education of bilinguals. The inclusion of several case studies of European linguistic minorities serves to exemplify the topics dealt with at the theoretical level and to illustrate the linguistic complexities found in contemporary Europe.
Growing up Constructivist - Languages and Thoughtful People Unpopular Philosophical Ideas - A History in Quotations Piaget's Constructivist Theory of Knowing The Construction of Concepts Reflection and Abstraction Constructing Agents - The Self and Others On Language, Meaning and Communication The Cybernetic Connection Units, Plurality, and Number To Encourage Students' Conceptual Constructing.
This accessible, yet scholarly, textbook aims to introduce students to the area of social science theory and research that has come to be known as social constructionism. Using a variety of examples from everyday experience and from existing research in areas such as personality, sexuality and health, the basic theoretical assumptions of social constructionism are clearly explained. Key debates, such as the nature and status of knowledge, truth, reality and the self are given in-depth analysis in an accessible style. The theoretical and practical issues relevant to social constructionist research are illustrated with examples from real empirical studies, and the different approaches to social constructionist research are clearly defined. While the text is broadly sympathetic to social constructionism, the weaknesses of the approach are also addressed through a critical approach to the material, and in the final chapter the theory is subjected to a more extensive critique. Social Constructionism, Second Edition, extends and updates the material covered in the first edition and will be a useful and informative resource for undergraduate and postgraduate students of psychology, as well as students from related areas such as health, social work and education.