Against the Luxury of Misunderstanding. Revisiting the Debate Between Carl Ratner and Barbara Zielke on an Interview With Kenneth J. Gergen and His Theory of Social Constructionism

  • Jürgen van Oorschot Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
  • Lars Allolio-Näcke Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Keywords: fundamental anthropology, activity theory, social constructionism, integrated kind of science, VICO


In our contribution we revisit the debate in FQS between Carl RATNER and Kenneth J. GERGEN—the latter also represented by Barbara ZIELKE. First we discuss the hidden premises of each position. Second we give a short introduction to both authors' versions of psychology that consequently result from these premises. In doing this their fundamental thinking about anthropology and human nature in general will arise, and the reader will understand why the debate is so emotional. In summing up, we propose an integrated kind of science that is characterized by a productive dialogue between the positions. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0602175


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Author Biographies

Jürgen van Oorschot, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Jürgen VAN OORSCHOT, Dr. theol. habil., is professor of the Old Testament in the theological faculty of the Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena. Main focuses of research are cultural and literary processes of transformation (e.g. death and coping with death), wisdom and culture of knowledge, anthropology and history of science. He co-edits the international journal Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft (ZAW), de Gruyter, Berlin and New York, and the Internet-encyclopedia WiLAT, Stuttgart.
Lars Allolio-Näcke, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Lars ALLOLIO-NÄCKE, psychologist, received his PhD in November 2005 in sociology; works as coordinator for the DFG priority program The Quality of School at the Leibniz Institute for Science Education in Kiel. He wrote his PhD-thesis on East German identity in the graduate school Cultural Hermeneutics: Reflections of Difference and Transdifference at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg. He co-edits the psychological journal Psychologie & Gesellschaftskritik and is founding member of Culture, Development & Psychology at the Free University Berlin. Main focuses of research are identity, philosophy of subjectivity, post-modern theory, and cultural psychology. Recent publications include East German identity, cultural psychology, and transdifference. In previous issues of FQS he has two conference reports: Focussing on Everyday Life and How Much Culture is Psychology Able to Deal With. The 100 Years of the German Society of Psychology.

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