(Fwd) Re: Social Constructionism

Chris Evans (C.Evans@sghms.ac.uk)
Wed, 3 Jun 1998 10:00:42 +0100

Another that I think Helen meant for the list but is inter-mentally sending via
Malcolm or I. Helen --- PLEASE will you check the outgoing address on things
you send?!


------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
From: "Jones, Helen" <JONESH@pulse.york.ac.uk>
To: pcp-request <pcp-request@mailbase.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: Social Constructionism
Date sent: Tue, 02 Jun 98 19:19:00 PDT

I think that Kelly's Sociality Corollary is extremely useful in this
"To the extent that one person construes the construction processes of
another he/she may play a role in a social process involving the other
person". Equally his Commonality Corollary is helpful..."To the extent
that one person employs a construction of experience which is similar to
that employed by another, his/her psychological processes are similar to
those of the other person". I may be very wrong but I cannot see why the
theoretical position described by Kelly cannot contain within it what is
called Social Constructionism...I do not pretend to know any answers other
than those of constructive alternativism. So I think, to question 1, the
answer is no...not incompatibility but, perhaps, PC P subsumes Social
Constructionist perspectives??? I am diffident in this response since I
know much more about P CP than Social Constructionism.
From: pcp-request
To: pcp
Subject: Re: Social Constructionism
Date: 02 June 1998 11:16

At 14:30 2-6-98 +1200, you wrote:
>I am about three-quarters of the way through Vivien Burr's book "An
>Introduction to Social Constructionism." I have two questions of my
>learned colleagues on this list.
>Question 1.
>Are Personal Construct Psychology and Social Constructionism
>incompatible points of view? I find myself beginning to place a foot in
>each camp. I see some specific areas of incompatibility but a number of
>areas of congruence. In your opinion(s) can a person comfortably
>subscribe to both PCP and Social Constructionism simultaneously?
(Question 2 deleted)
>Dr. Robin Hill

I used to worry about this question while studying for a psychology
degree. As a practitioner (change management) I find it difficult to think
about one perspective without the other.

As an example, someone recently said to me: "Of course, if my boss gives
me an order, then I've got to do it". This statement can be analysed in
social constructionist terms - it is dependent on a whole range of social
meanings about hierarchies and authority. On the other hand, I could
enquire into the construing of the speaker of himself as dependent or
subservient, and what that means to him. The speaker is simultaneously
construing himself in hierarchical terms, and, by his statement, producing
social meanings.

Individuals have personal constructs, but they are framed in social terms.
Individuals validate these constructs using social meanings. So pcp has to
recognise the social dimension. On the other hand, there isn't a social
meaning that isn't generated by individuals (to validate their constructs)
and being construed by individuals.

Don't sit on the fence. Dismantle it.

Don't put a foot in each camp. Reorganise them into a single camp around
wherever you want to put your feet.


Charles Smith

Chris Evans, Senior Lecturer in Psychotherapy,
Locum Consultant to the
Prudence Skynner Family Therapy Clinic,
St. George's Hospital Medical School, London University
C.Evans@sghms.ac.uk http://psyctc.sghms.ac.uk/