RE: MM\symbolic interactionism and PCP

Devorah Kalekin-Fishman (
Mon, 28 Aug 1995 13:15:09 +0300

Hi, people! I want to pick up on one point that Malcolm made - the fact that
so much work in PCP is done by means of methods that do not derive from the
theory. To my mind, whether or not we are aware of it, every method implies
an underlying theory. And just applying a method as if it is completely
flexible does not make sense! Who else is worried about this? Devorah
>On Fri, 18 Aug 1995 wrote:
>> [text] I sometimes become
>> frustrated by questions about the relationship between such and such
>> school of thought and PCP. One reason is that such questions often treat
>> PCP as a type of monolithic enterprise. In some versions, PCP has been
>> monolithic, and I think this is a problem. I think that we should stop
>> thinking in terms of monolithic theoretical systems of yesteryear (PCP,
>> symbolic interactionism) -- let's work to embrace new systems of thought,
>> to integrate these old systems with new systems, and the like. Mead's
>> symbolic interactionism has many problematic assumptions (it was, after all,
>> dubbed social behaviorism by its author) and Kelly's system needs to be
>> reworked as well. Let's look to the future rather than the past, toward
>> dynamic systems models of social relations, social constructionism, neo-
>> whateverism -- take your pick -- but lets look forward rather than backward.
>As, what I guess may be called, a *Kellian Essentialist* I am very
>interested in comments such as yours Mike. My feeling is that Kellian
>Theory is dynamic, rather than monolithic. There are a couple of reasons
>I am not prepared to leave it just yet;
>As a school of psychological thought, it's primary strength for me
>is that it is intergrated, internally consistent and provides a
>stand-alone theory of personhood. I have many questions for which I think
>the theory and it's implicative techniques and methodologies can assist me
>to wrestle with.
>Also - I was born into a post-modern intellectual "tradition" (if that is
>possible). PMT (*P*ost *M*odern *T*hought) just was.
>It wasn't new, it wasn't different, and I have observed a shift, in what
>I believe to be a relatively short period of time, from "post-" to "passe~-
>As a consequence I am suspicious of intellectual trends. I'm a bottom-up
>kind of guy (please read on - this is not yet another inappropriate personal
>disclosure) when it comes to evaluating the utility of theory. For me PCP
>continues to demonstrate its efficacy as I move from project to project.
>One of the things I think that has slowed the progress of PCT is the use
>of methods which are at odds with the theory. I reckon that there is
>much more to be learned about people from Kellian perspectives of
>personhood. I don't see the theory so much as limiting in terms of utility,
>but rather as moderating the claims which can be made from our work.
>Well these are just some ideas and I'd appreciate your comments as always.
>Fond Regards - malcolm c cross
>END NOTE: Please note the above cliches have been copy-written by David
>Vogel and myself, for the purposes of merchandising and will be available
>on quality T-shirts, in a variety of sizes, at the next PCP conference.
Devorah Kalekin-Fishman
School of Education
University of Haifa
Haifa, Israel 31905

Tel: +972-4-240898
Fax: +972-4-240911