Re: Classical romance

(no name) ((no email))
Wed, 14 Feb 1996 14:21:05 -0500 (EST)

Hi, to the PCP networkers:

Bob N says the following: (between double lines)
In general, although
I continue to find it useful to speak of the "self" as a concentrated
domain or nexus of discourses, organized to acheive a minimal degree of
coherence, consistency over time, and sense of "identity" (allowing for the
rather different dynamics of identity construction in different cultural
contexts), the concept of "agency" has become problematized enough for me
that I know longer use it with the confidence I once did.

I would like to give that section of Bob's text some special attention.
Can we say, "a system of personal constructs," as a substitute for the term
"a concentrated domain or nexus of discourses, etc. . and sense of "identity".
. ."
Would the substitution be legitimate, Bob???
I ask this, because I would think that it would then be legitimate to
say that the person's system of constructs allows for rather different dynamics
of identity construciton in different cultural contexts.
That is, a person can create "multiple identities," each of which
depends on the social context in which that identity is created.
But -- the use of the term "can create," suggests that I would see a
limiation on which identities one "can" create -- and that would depend on the
personal construct system.
Otherwise, to appeal to a current national concern, I would today --
spending several hours with Pat Buchanan's supporters -- create one self; and
tommorrow, no one would be suprised to find me taking the identity of a staunch
supporter of Mario Cuomo!!!

Our task, as PERSONAL construct theory supporters would be to indicate
the ways in which those PERSONAL construct systems allow for the creation of
multiple self identities, while at the same time accounting for the

To solve this problem, I think, one must give very serious attention to
the idea that each self construction is BUILT - on the spot, in the social
The objections of the social constructions to the COGNITIVISM of
personal construct psychologists stems, I believe, from the view that
constructions are RE-treived (re-found). If one accepts the justifiable
position that self constructions are RE-memberered (re-assembled), from the
person's repertory of personal constructs, then, we have a way of talking about
the building of multiple selves in various social contexts --- BUT, the
repertory of self constructions remains constrained by the systems of
construct (two poled judgment dimensions) which THE INDIVIDUAL has developed
over the course of his/her efforts to construe the imputs from the putative
world. [By the way, be sure to re-read Mahoney -- in the early numbers of JCP
-- on the ideal of PROACTIVE COGNITION. "The active ordering capacities of the
system are nor predominantly reactive -- as in classifying and storing
informtion from 'incoming' sense data -- but are literally and functionally
anticipatoty and proactive." (Mahoney, JCP, 1988, p. 3)]

FArther down in Bob's text we find this effort to deal with a point
that a satisfying constructivist theory must clarify: [Bob's material is
between the double lines.]


In some expanded sense, the term "conversation"
or "dialogue" captures some of the locality of this process, but both seem
too evanescent to refer to the resonance that particular exchanges carry
for us, or the way in which we often struggle to consolidate them into
coherent patterns or regularities to give us some sense of bearing in the
world (see Note 1). It is this effort after durable (but not permanent)
meaning, as well as the effort to expand and revise these meanings, that I
see as the core of "selfhood processes." This seems broadly congruent with
Kelly's (annd Guidano's) take on the "self" as well.

I like the term dialogue -- despite agreeing that one can trip over the
loadings of meaning the term might have. I believe that the term would be
particularly useful in talking about creating self narratives/constructions in
social interactions. Dialogue, as a word, clearly indicates the social aspects
of what is going on -- "di" = two, twice, doubly, etc. log = all those things
having to do with meaning, order, speaking, etc.
Any cursory search of the current literature on "discourse processing,"
opens up a vast area of constructivist scholarship. Indeed, I have been
enjoying the making of the claim that eventually pscyhology, psychiatry,
communications theory, etc., etc., will disappear into a grand disipline that
will be called something like, "discourse processing" and the basic theories
will be constructivist.

Which leads me to urge our dialogue partners [the term that Ted Sarbin
advises I use in place of the term "dialogist"] to explore the importance of
viewing all self presentations as TEXT. Each action which we take, I would
say, MUST be seen as TEXT [just as are speech, written words, printed signs,
etc.]. Those TEXT/SELF PRESENTATIONS will be processed by the dialogue
partner [in terms of his/her construct system].

And, of course, the TEXT/SELF PRESENTATION which follows from the
dialogue partner's construing will have some interesting effects on the person
who produces the initial TEXT/SELF PRESENTATION.

Anyhow, those are some of the results of the ruminationn ["internal
dialogues"] I have had on the matter of how we might construe SELF. I
appreciate the opportunity to enage in this "external dialogue."

Any reactions, if there are any???

Jim Mancuso