Publication 5554

Cromby J. (2004) Between constructionism and neuroscience: The societal co-construction of embodied subjectivity. Theory and Psychology 14(6): 797–821. Fulltext at
Social constructionist psychology has no adequate notion of embodied subjectivity, a situation causing conceptual errors, raising methodological issues, and serving to entrench within constructionism the dualisms that structure mainstream psychology. The outline of a solution to this problem is offered, drawing on contemporary work in neuroscience. A framework from Harre – of three ‘grammars’ of causality and influence (P, or persons; O or organisms; and M or molecules) is described and used to structure the integration of Shotter’s notion of subjectivity with two brain systems. Damasio’s ‘somatic marker’ hypothesis enables the feelingful, sensuous aspects of ‘joint action’, whilst Gazzaniga’s ‘interpreter’ enables their discursive aspects. The benefits of theorizing embodied subjectivity in this way are illustrated by a study of the phenomenon of ‘depression’, and it is concluded that such an integration makes constructionism more coherent, credible and critical.

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