Constructing Identities provides a refreshing overview and analysis of social constructionism's place in social psychology. Author Mike Michael offers a distinctive and coherent account that revolves around two main questions: How can social constructionism account for changes in human identities? And in what ways might social constructionism accommodate a role for nonhumans-whether technological or natural-in the constitution of identity? With interdisciplinary breadth the book locates these questions between the social psychological tradition and the highly influential contributions of actor network theory that has so dominated the sociology of scientific knowledge. The fruitful mix of these traditions sustains a clear and coherent discussion of how issues around agency, hybridity, marginality, and the “other” can contribute to a better understanding of human identity. Constructing Identities will be invaluable reading for students and academics in social psychology, the sociology of scientific knowledge, and anyone addressing the central issue of identity.


I was going to start this introduction with a specific metaphor about the constitution of social psychology. I was intending to liken social psychology to a chimera. I might have said rude things like: the large, over-fed body is bloated with the fiery wind of experimentation; the soft paws of the front feet and the talons of the back, alternately grooming and savaging the body, might be those approaches that take a sympathetically critical view of the experiment (social representations or, perhaps, rhetorical social psychology); the head is attached to the shoulders by the thinnest of necks and is full of the cognitions and representations of social constructionism; finally, I would locate myself and my allies, whoever they might be, in the tail, desperately ...

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