Toward Transformation in Social Knowledge

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Critical resistance to traditional empirical methods and the quest for foundational knowledge of human action is widespread. Recognition of theoretical and methodological inadequacies has sparked a search for a more robust conception of human science. In Toward Transformation in Social Knowledge, Kenneth J. Gergen develops the argument for human science as social construction. Demonstrating that descriptions of human action can neither be derived from nor corrected by scientific observation, Gergen provides a ...
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Overview

Critical resistance to traditional empirical methods and the quest for foundational knowledge of human action is widespread. Recognition of theoretical and methodological inadequacies has sparked a search for a more robust conception of human science. In Toward Transformation in Social Knowledge, Kenneth J. Gergen develops the argument for human science as social construction. Demonstrating that descriptions of human action can neither be derived from nor corrected by scientific observation, Gergen provides a bold interdisciplinary challenge to traditional views, thus clearing the way for significant alterations in scientific practice. In the Preface to the second edition, Gergen describes the significant movements taking place since the first edition was published over a decade ago. This fascinating and carefully reasoned book remains essential reading for psychologists, sociologists, philosophers of the social sciences and others seeking a fresh understanding of our concept of social knowledge.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780387906737
  • Publisher: Springer-Verlag New York, LLC
  • Publication date: 7/28/1982
  • Series: Social Psychology Series
  • Pages: 260

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition
In the Context of a Rooted Tradition
Tradition in Transition
The Developing Dialogue
The Rise of Social Constructionism
References
Preface to the First Edition
1 Traditional Science in a World of Change 1
Assumptive Bases in the Sociobehavioral Sciences 6
The Threat of Instability 11
Decomposing Patterned Behavior 13
Fundamental Assumptions Revisited: The Hypothesis Test 34
The Retrenchment of Traditional Science 43
2 The Communal Basis of Social Knowledge 59
A Dilemma Solved and a Crisis Created 60
Science and the Dilemma of Identification 69
Descriptive Language: From Neurons to Nurturance 78
The Revitalization of Theory 94
The Significance of Empirical Research 100
3 Generative Theory and Degenerative Metatheory 107
The Impact on Theory of Logical Empiricist Metatheory 113
Methodological Selection and Theoretical Constraint: The Controlled Experiment 126
Metatheoretical Constraints on Generative Theory 133
The Development of Generative Theory 139
4 The Turning Point in Life-Span Study 147
From the Stable to the Aleatory in Developmental Trajectory 148
The Emergence of Autonomous Self-Direction 157
The Functional Utility of Life-Span Theory 164
5 The Historical Context of Transformation 173
The Pivotal Conflict: Exogenic versus Endogenic World Views 174
The Struggle toward a New Science 189
Metatheoretical Bases for a Unified Alternative 200
Toward a Sociorationalism 207
References 211
Author Index 247
Subject Index 257
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