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.
Constructing Socially Constructed Identity
This chapter considers the variety of perspectives that can be said to fall under social constructionist social psychological approaches to identity. That there is a wide spectrum of such approaches is obvious, and I will engage with a number of them in order to contrast some of the differences in emphasis and to explore the central issues, at least in my mind, that arise from such differences. My narrative aim is to set up the primary context for the discussions in future chapters. My intellectual purpose is to focus upon the problem, to the extent that it is a problem, of the (albeit contingent) origins of the various linguistic, social, cultural resources through which identity is constituted. In ...