Core Constructs
Tue, 17 Dec 1996 20:41:12 +0100

Vic Jones writes

>I was wondering if you, or any other PCP collegues might comment on the
>difference between core and superordinate constructs that Esteban mentioned
>in his original message. I had the understanding that "core" and
>"superordinate" were two metaphors describing the same thing. In terms of
>superordinate constructs, we are looking at how some constructs are
>hierarchical to others. Core constructs, because they explain what is
>personally meaningful to an individual, are superordinate to other
>constructs held by the individual. Am I on the right track here?

I don't know what Esteban feels, but here's my own view: it's a bit more
discriminating thanyour definitions in the quote above.

For me, a "superordinate construct" is at a greater level of generality and
abstraction with respect to another. That other construct might itself be
at a greater level of generality with respect to yet another one lower down
in the hierarchy. And that's all: "superordinate/subordinate" is simply an
indication of relative location in a hierarchy (thought here will of course
be implications arising from the organisation corollary to do with range
and focus of convenience, or to use non-Kellian language, the realm of
discourse which might be involved; and the latter _may_ carry implications
to do with "linguistic incompleteness" of any one level.)

A "core construct" is, as Esteban reminded us, related to a person's
maintenance processes or, as I think of it, has the nature of a personal

So you can't necessarily identify "core construct" as the same thing as
"superordinate construct" (there will be constructs in the middle of the
hierarchy which are superordinate to others but are not core constructs,
being subordinate to others).

These are all personal rules of thumb which I find helpful in my work.
I believe them to reflect a general consensus among pcp colleagues but am
quite prepared to be corrected on the basis of either
a) Kelly's own definitions (it's a while since I referred to his own
2-volume book!)
b) empirically-based data in and around the organisation corollary which
indicates that I'm over-simplifying things: in view of the
realm-of-discourse issue.

Kindest regards,