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 Actor-Network Theory
In the previous chapter, I provided a number of critiques of social constructionism. Particular emphasis was placed on the following. Firstly, I argued that social constructionism did not adequately address its own roots, and, in particular, the rationale behind the prioritization of the social and the exclusion of the non-social. I implied that actor-network theory was better equipped to deal with the non-social and the nonhuman - to integrate them into an analytical framework that attends to the mutual construction of the social and the non-social, the human and the nonhuman. Secondly, I suggested that while social constructionism was keenly sensitive to the uses of linguistic resources in the production of identity, these tended to be situated in such diffuse ...