The Social Turn in the Science of Human Action

  • Toshio Sugiman
  • Kenneth J. Gergen
  • Wolfgang Wagner
  • Yoko Yamada


In psychological science the social world has always stood as a dark and silent specter. The fact of our existence in a social world is clear enough. However, the point of psychological science is to illuminate the activities of the mind. How are we to understand perception, thought, the emotions, motivation, learning, and the like? To carry out research on such processes it is essential to cut them away from the social world, to treat them as independent entities subject to investigation in their own right. In this context, if the social world is to exist at all, there are two major possibilities: First, others’ actions may serve as a stimulus input, perturbing the internal mechanisms in one fashion or another. Or, social action may result from the operation of the internal mechanisms. In both cases, if recognized at all, the social world is secondary and/or derivative. And yet, the specter remains to haunt the field with reminders of how central to daily life are the relationships in which we are immersed. It whispers of possibilities that the social world may just be primary, and the mental world secondary or derivative.


Social Representation Social World Social Construction Psychological Science Literary Text 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toshio Sugiman
    • 1
  • Kenneth J. Gergen
    • 2
  • Wolfgang Wagner
    • 3
  • Yoko Yamada
    • 4
  1. 1.Graduate School of Human and Environmental StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Swarthmore CollegeSwarthmoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of Social and Economic PsychologyJohannes Kepler UniversityLinzAustria
  4. 4.Graduate School of EducationKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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