Publication 6580

Eberle T. S. (2019) Variations of constructivism. In: Pfadenhauer M. & Knoblauch H. (eds.) Social constructivism as paradigm? The legacy of The Social Construction of Reality. Routledge, London: 131–151. Fulltext at
Excerpt: To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Berger and Luckmann’s book The Social Construction of Reality, one of the most cited sociological books of the 20th century, is an absolute must – and truly deserving such appreciation. Proclaiming “social constructivism” a paradigm, however, as done by the title of this anniversary publication – although tentatively and with a question mark – seems fairly courageous, and this is so for several reasons: First, the label “social constructivism” covers a multiplicity of different theoretical approaches and, therefore, has many different meanings and connotations – can it be re-specified to just one of them? Second, both Berger and Luckmann distance themselves explicitly from constructivism; Luckmann said that they both were “very much annoyed” when “being labeled ‘social constructivists’” (Dreher & Vera 2016: 31). Is it apt, then, to call their approach “social constructivism”? Third, we have been witnessing a countermovement during the last decade in philosophy as well as in the social sciences – social constructivism has come under attack. How big is the chance to revive and consolidate it in spite of these criticisms? The goal of this chapter is to respond to these questions by shedding some light on the variations of constructivism (while keeping Berger and Luckmann’s approach center stage).

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