Challenges and Opportunities in the International Reception of "Communicative Constructivism"


  • Dirk vom Lehn King's College London
  • Magarethe Kusenbach University of South Florida



communicative constructivism, constructionism, ethnography, ethnomethodology, focused ethnography, (symbolic) interactionism, videography


In this article, we offer some observations on the international standing of communicative constructivism (CoCo), as discussed in scholarship published largely in German over the past decade (e.g., KELLER, KNOBLAUCH & REICHERTZ, 2013; KNOBLAUCH, 2019a [2016]; REICHERTZ, 2009). We seek to explain why, in our view, CoCo has not thus far had a noticeable influence on academic discourse in international, particularly Anglo-American, sociology. Amongst others, we highlight issues regarding the name that was picked for the perspective and regarding the literal translation of German CoCo terminology into the English language. We also point to some theoretical and methodological choices that have made it difficult to link CoCo to interactionist sociology in general, and to ethnomethodology and ethnography in particular, i.e., perspectives that we are closely aligned with. We conclude with a summary of our observations and a few suggested steps communicative constructivists might consider taking to broaden and diversify the appeal of their program beyond German speaking sociology.


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Author Biographies

Dirk vom Lehn, King's College London

Dirk VOM LEHN is professor of organization and practice and member of Work Interaction and Technology at King's Business School, King's College London. He is interested in ethnomethodology and conducts ethnomethodological analyses of interaction in museums, in optometric examinations, in dance workshops, and at street-market stalls.

Magarethe Kusenbach, University of South Florida

Margarethe KUSENBACH is professor of sociology at the University of South Florida, Tampa. Her research interests include cities and communities, identities and emotions, disasters and the environment, qualitative research methods, and interpretive theory. Currently, she conducts comparative research on street art scenes and urban development in international cultural cities.


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How to Cite

vom Lehn, D., & Kusenbach, M. (2023). Challenges and Opportunities in the International Reception of "Communicative Constructivism". Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 24(3).



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