Social Constructionism

  • Viv BurrEmail author
Reference work entry


Social constructionism emerged in social psychology in the 1970s and 1980s, taking up many of the issues raised as part of the earlier “crisis” in social psychology and becoming a critical voice challenging the agenda of mainstream psychology. In particular, it challenged psychology’s individualistic, essentialist, and intrapsychic model of the person, replacing it with a radically social account of personhood in which language is key. Viewed through the constructionist lens, the person ceases to be a unified ensemble of stable psychological structures and traits and becomes a fluid, fractured, and changeable assemblage, distributed across and produced through social interactions and relationships. Social constructionism’s critical focus has meant that its research agenda is also radically different from that of mainstream psychology and social psychology. Social constructionist research rejects the mainstream psychological experimental paradigm and turned attention to the constructive force of language and discourse, opening up new lines of research and developments in a number of methods referred to as discourse analysis.


Social constructionism Discourse analysis Critical psychology Power relations Crisis in social psychology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, School of Human and Health SciencesUniversity of HuddersfieldHuddersfieldUK

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