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 a Critique of Social Constructionism
Constructing a critique of social constructionism

In the previous chapter we saw how various social constructionist approaches to identity were, with relatively few exceptions, focused on specific domains, and incorporated differing frames of history and units of analysis. The purpose was to show how such disparity militated against a detailed consideration of the multiple and sometimes contradictory dimensions (or levels) of identity, and of the historical rise of new constructions and their entrenchment. Towards the end of the chapter I suggested that the non-social also needed to be introduced into the equation that described these regularities. However, in order to sustain such an argument, it is necessary to provide a critique of social constructionism that generates a feasible space for ...

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