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.
Science, Knowledge and the Public
Chapter 5 addressed the way that scientific actors, in constructing identities for themselves and others, could be interpreted as attempting to use the interviewers as their intermediaries. In contrast, this chapter is concerned with ways in which the spokespersons of science-in-general (where science-in-general refers to the iconic images, knowledges, institutions and techniques of science) attempt more directly to enrol public constituencies into their desired network. As such, I will look at instances where scientists and their (social science) intermediaries construct a particular identity for the lay public, paying particular attention to the role of questionnaire studies of the public understanding of science. We shall see that not only are aspects of identity such as scientific literacy ...