[Fwd: Dissertation]

Mancuso, James C. (mancusoj@capital.net)
Sun, 26 Apr 1998 17:45:31 -0400

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Bob Parks send this very stimulating response to some of my
comments, and suggests that if I think it appropriate I should forward
Here it is...

James C. Mancuso        Dept. of Psychology
15 Oakwood Place        University at Albany
Delmar, NY 12054        1400 Washington Ave.
Tel: (518)439-4416      Albany, NY 12222
A website related to Italian-American Affairs

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Return-Path: <bobp@lightlink.com> Received: from sigma.capital.net (root@sigma2.capital.net []) by Delta.capital.net (8.8.7/8.8.7) with ESMTP id NAA10140 for <mancusoj@mail.capital.net>; Sun, 26 Apr 1998 13:25:03 -0400 (EDT) Received: from light.lightlink.com (root@light.lightlink.com []) by sigma.capital.net (8.8.7/8.8.7) with ESMTP id NAA08799 for <mancusoj@capital.net>; Sun, 26 Apr 1998 13:25:01 -0400 (EDT) Received: from [] (bobp.lightlink.com []) by light.lightlink.com (8.8.8/8.8.8) with ESMTP id NAA10087 for <mancusoj@capital.net>; Sun, 26 Apr 1998 13:24:58 -0400 (EDT) Message-Id: <v03007800b16914033185@[]> In-Reply-To: <354342F0.FBB4F4DD@capital.net> References: <980425183815.2023c359@MARY.FORDHAM.EDU> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/enriched; charset="us-ascii" Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 12:21:10 -0500 To: mancusoj@capital.net From: Bob Parks <bobp@lightlink.com> Subject: Re: Dissertation


Thanks for the very stimulating posting on your construction of "construct" and "conflict". I've been lurking till I have time to get back to my own mapping of ideologies as constructs. I won't have time until June to contribute effectively to the dialogue, but I did want to comment on a couple of your points.

> From that point, I would proceed to establish what I intend to signify by the >term <italic>conflict</italic>, knowing that each person's construction will be unique!!!&nbsp; >And, certainly, we would need to exercise a great deal of intersubjective >exploration in order to "map out" any dialogue partner's construction of >conflict.

This comment focuses for me the apparent paradox of naming our constructs with words that have both technical and vernacular meanings, while investigating the "construct" itself, rather than the language used to designate it. In other words, whe have our own construct of the topic of research, and generally assumer the participants in our studies will take the term to mean "roughly" the same things. But actually, our research paradigm suggests we shouldn't make that assumption that others use words the same way. It appears to me that all PCP research should systematically COMPARE our technical constucts (such as "conflict") with the constructs generated by participants in the study. So far, I haven't seen anyone in PCP suggest to me a systematic way to do this.

In my own case (which I mentioned here a month or so ago), I want to study the concepts of equality and community, which have a very important normative traditions in philosophy and law. Regardless of what people actually mean by these words, there are good (though disputed) reasons for meaning one thing rather than another. (Or, we could say with the developmentalists, different kinds of reasons may be given at different stages of social/intellectual development). What I want to do is to map peoples constructions of equality and community against the "expert" constructions and the poles suggested by these terms.

With Q-methodology, there is apparently a procedure for establishing the set of statements that are sorted by subjects. Perhaps what I'm looking for is a way to compare a set of constructs extracted from the literature in political philosophy (which is my own training) with citizens' constructs.

I'm afraid I'm still too much of a novice in PCP to recognize how this quandary is handled. Your comments are very suggestive, Jim. I'm just asking for more.

Also, your last comments were intriguing, since I am grounded in the critical theory/Marxist tradition. You said:

> Consider (and this is only one of the examples I could give to demonstrate why >I regard this construct as superimportant in one's personal construct system) >-- those of us who have been schooled in Marxist and Post-Marxist >interpretations of history have been very attuned to the framing of history in >terms of class struggle. At base, however, class struggle represents a grand >example of what I reference when I speak of <italic>conflict</italic>. That is, the base of >class struggle is a matter of "whose construct system shall prevail!" Then, >when we introduce the idea that one can, by whatever means, determine whose >construct system best maps out "reality," we have a grand field of battle. And >the term <italic>battle</italic> is intended to be literal -- How many deaths are owed to >efforts to affirm that one or another construct system better maps out >"reality???"

First, I would like to note that Marx would agree with much of your statement. But with the proviso that we recognize that the task is not so much to dispel our or others' illusions, but to abandon the conditions which require illusiions. (I'll cite the passage if someone is interested.)

> Can we find a constructivist social scientist who can convince scholars that >the effort to maintain the stability and integrety of one's construct >system&nbsp; (Choice Corollary) has been far more important in determining the >course of human history than has been economics??&nbsp; Enough of Adam Smith >and Karl Marx -- forward with Giambattista Vico and George Kelly!!!

Second, Lukacs remind us that "economics" itself is an historical construct. The Greek "economos" means "household", which is where production occurred in ancient societies. In modern capitalist societies, economics stands for the construction of household as site of consumption, with the socialized/private capital of the corporation left as the new "site" of production. The construction of "economics" leaves out the damage done to our environment, while "politics" is the place where we try to repair this damage. The point I'm trying to make is that we may be able to go forward with both Marx and Kelly. Perhaps the task is to find ways of coordinating these theoretical constructs in the social-historical world, with the constructs that Kelly allows us to map in people's everyday life. I feel a great deal of excitement if I could get some psychologists to work with a social scientist in coordinating our terminologies. I"ve been trying to absorb Kelly, but Jim is one of the first I've heard venture into the language of socio-historical constructions.

On my desk now is a book by William Frawley, on "Vygotsky and Cognitive Science", arguing that these approaches to mind are reconcilable and even need each other. Let me encourage the same thought among those who plow the fields of PCP. I'd like to find ways to show that PCP and historical-political construct development are not only reconcilable, but essential to each other.

Bob Parks

PS... It appears that replying to your email sends this back to you instead of the PCP list. If you think it appropriate, please forward to the list.