Core Constructs

Thu, 2 Jan 1997 10:28:38 -0500


Sorry about my delay: I was not able to use my e-mail service for a
while. May we recall our last discussion?

Vic Jones writes (17-12-96):

>I was wondering if you, or any other PCP collegues might comment on the
>difference between core and superordinate constructs that Esteban =
>in his original message. I had the understanding that "core" and
>"superordinate" were two metaphors describing the same thing. In terms =
>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?

Devi replies:

>For me, a "superordinate construct" is at a greater level of generality =
>abstraction with respect to another. That other construct might itself =
>at a greater level of generality with respect to yet another one lower =
>in the hierarchy. And that's all: "superordinate/subordinate" is simply =
>indication of relative location in a hierarchy.
>So you can't necessarily identify "core construct" as the same thing as
>"superordinate construct" (there will be constructs in the middle of =
>hierarchy which are superordinate to others but are not core =
>being subordinate to others).

My belief is close to Devi=B4s: a core construct is _not necessarily_ a
superordinate construct, an vice versa. As she points out,
superordinate-subordinate is a distinction inside of a hierarchycal
system between a more abstract and global and a more concrete and
incidental one. More than that, the superordinate construct is itself a
distinction which applies to the subordinate one: is more abstract
because it uses the subordinate construct as an element. Core
constructs, in turn, are crucial for a person: they hold the basis of
his personal meanings of life, of people, and himself. They may, or may
not, be superordinate to others.
I think we can talk of core constructs -if we are talking of what a
person believes and what his behavior seems to mean; but we can=B4t talk
of superordinate constructs without talking of its subordinates: x is
superordinate _to_ y.

Is that of any help?