contextual constructionists : ch.2, p.10

the broader version of the sociological social construction approach to social problems…

“Contextual constructionists counter that “the language of claims does not exist independently of the social world; it is a product of—and influence on—that world” (Best 1993:141). They argue that strict constructionism ignores the pragmatic realities of the “social problems work” that both researchers and actors perform. Contextual constructionists advocate a more ethnomethodologically sensitive approach that reflects concern for “the interpretative practices by which everyday realities are locally accomplished, managed, and sustained” (Holstein and Miller 1993:152). They recommend a broadened focus to constructionism that includes “practices that link public interpretative structures to aspects of everyday realities” (Holstein and Miller 1993:152). Miller and Fox (1999) grant strict constructionism value as a theoretical ideal, but declare it untenable in practical research and applied applications.”



  1. 4roots said:

    In two sentences or less…what is the difference between a social constructionist and social constructivist? As I’m reading your posts I don’t see one, but I can’t read it fluently because all of the education theory talks about from constructivist perspective. Is it just how the disciplines talk differently? Have you read any of the theory by Vygotsky or Bakhtin?

    • only a few letters, really, unless you’re talking about what the perspective should focus on (“strict/narrow” vs. “contextual/broad” constructi*ism). to the degree the content of what theorists (social, educational, philosophy, etc.) mean when they describe and apply this theoretical perspective is similar, what you’re picking up on is an effect of the academy’s social structure. sometimes in our discipline silos we have similar ideas under different names, and occasionally similar or even identical labels! thus, one snapshot of the social construction of scientific knowledge! i’ve read a piece or two a while ago by bakhtin with respect to social theory on the construction of environmental problems i think, but don’t remember details. and yes, this is > 2 sentences. 🙂

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