Not "Anything Goes." A Critical Assessment of Constructionism and Its Misinterpretation


  • Barbara Zielke Universität Erlangen



social constructionism, critical realism, dialogue, participation, agency, philosophical pragmatism, Habitus


First, the article discusses some popular confusion caused by a superficial (and extreme) interpretation of the constructionist meta-theoretical position. Second, a number of versions of critical realism are discussed as an alternative which is to be respected, but may be critiqued as being prone to the (ideological) presupposition that some entities are "beyond construction." Third, the more severe problems of constructionist meta-theory are sketched and criticized: i.e., the implications of a psychology without subject and a notion of cultural practice that denies any kind of agency to its participants. Finally, and to invite future projects, a case is made for a pragmatist refinement of the constructionist position. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0601275


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Author Biography

Barbara Zielke, Universität Erlangen

Barbara ZIELKE is a lecturer and researcher in psychology at the university of Erlangen. Her areas of interest include the social construction of knowledge, action theory, cultural psychology, intercultural communication and the self in cultural context. Her current research is on intercultural communication in the field of psychotherapy. She is co-editor of "Pursuit of Meaning. Advances in Cultural and Cross-Cultural Psychology" Bielefeld, transcript (2006), and of the journal "Psychologie & Gesellschaftskritik".




How to Cite

Zielke, B. (2006). Not "Anything Goes." A Critical Assessment of Constructionism and Its Misinterpretation. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 7(1).



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