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.
This book has been written with the express aim of explicating some of the implications of ANT for the ‘new wave’ social psychological study of identity. To do this, some of the cherished assumptions and routine practices of social constructionism have been scrutinized and found incomplete. The theorization of historical change, the demarcation of agency, the identification of key generative actors, the role of nonhumans - all these have been raised with the view to contributing to a ‘new improved’ new wave social psychology. However, hopefully I have not been too slavish in my exposition of ANT; it has not been my intention to hold it up as some sort of sacrosanct theoretical framework which can readily and unproblematically embrace, indeed, consume, the new ...