1st Edition

Handbook of Constructionist Research

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ISBN 9781593853051
Published January 10, 2008 by Guilford Press
832 Pages

USD $165.00

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Book Description

Constructionism has become one of the most popular research approaches in the social sciences. But until now, little attention has been given to the conceptual and methodological underpinnings of the constructionist stance, and the remarkable diversity within the field. This cutting-edge handbook brings together a dazzling array of scholars to review the foundations of constructionist research, how it is put into practice in multiple disciplines, and where it may be headed in the future. The volume critically examines the analytic frameworks, strategies of inquiry, and methodological choices that together form the mosaic of contemporary constructionism, making it an authoritative reference for anyone interested in conducting research in a constructionist vein.

Table of Contents


1. The Constructionist Mosaic, Jaber F. Gubrium and James A. Holstein

I. Foundations and Historical Context

2. The Philosophical Foundations of Constructionist Research, Darin Weinberg

3. Historical Development and Defining Issues of Constructionist Inquiry, Joel Best

II. Constructionism across the Disciplines

4. Constructionism in Anthropology, James D. Faubion and George E. Marcus

5. Social Constructionist Perspectives in Communication Research, Elissa Foster and Arthur P. Bochner

6. Educational Constructionisms, Stanton Wortham and Kara Jackson

7. Social Constructionism in Management and Organization Studies, Dalvir Samra-Fredericks

8. Critical Constructionism in Nursing Research, Joanna Latimer

9. Social Construction and Psychological Inquiry, Kenneth J. Gergen and Mary M. Gergen

10. Social Constructions in the Study of Public Policy, Anne L. Schneider and Helen Ingram

11. Social Constructionism in Science and Technology Studies, Sal Restivo and Jennifer Croissant

12. Constructionism in Sociology, Scott R. Harris

III. The Scope of Constructionist Inquiry

13. Foucauldian Constructionism, Leslie Miller

14. Discursive Constructionism, Jonathan Potter and Alexa Hepburn

15. Narrative Constructionist Inquiry, Andrew C. Sparkes and Brett Smith

16. Interactional Constructionism, Amir Marvasti

17. Claimsmaking, Culture, and the Media in the Social Construction Process, Kathleen S. Lowney

18. Strict and Contextual Constructionism in the Sociology of Deviance and Social Problems, Peter R. Ibarra

IV. Strategies and Techniques

19. Constructionist Impulses in Ethnographic Fieldwork, James A. Holstein and Jaber F. Gubrium

20. Constructionism and the Grounded Theory Method, Kathy Charmaz

21. Constructionism and Discourse Analysis, Pirjo Nikander

22. A Social Constructionist Framing of the Research Interview, Mirka Koro-Ljungberg

23. Autoethnography as Constructionist Project, Laura L. Ellingson and Carolyn Ellis

24. Documents, Texts, and Archives in Constructionist Research, Annulla Linders

V. The Social Construction of What?

25. The Constructed Body, Bryan S. Turner

26. The Social Construction of Emotion, Donileen R. Loseke and Margarethe Kusenbach

27. Constructing Gender: The Dancer and the Dance, Judith Lorber

28. The Construction of Sex and Sexualities, Sara L. Crawley and K. L. Broad

29. The Diverse Construction of Race and Ethnicity, Mitch Berbrier

30. Constructions of Medical Knowledge, Paul Atkinson and Maggie Gregory

31. Constructing Therapy and Its Outcomes, Gale Miller and Tom Strong

32. Constructionist Themes in the Historiography of the Nation, Bo Stråth

VI. Continuing Challenges

33. The Reality of Social Constructions, Stephen Pfohl

34. Can Constructionism Be Critical?, Dian Marie Hosking

35. Feminism and Constructionism, Barbara L. Marshall

36. Institutional Ethnography and Constructionism, Liza McCoy

37. Ethnomethodology as a Provocation to Constructionism, Michael Lynch

38. Saving Social Construction: Contributions from Cultural Studies, Joseph Schneider

39. Writing Culture, Holism, and the Partialities of Ethnographic Inquiry, Vered Amit

40. Constructionist Research and Globalization, Pertti Alasuutari

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James A. Holstein (PhD, University of Michigan) is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences at Marquette University. His research and publications have addressed social problems, deviance and social control, family, and the self--all approached from an ethnomethodologically informed, constructionist perspective.

Jaber F. Gubrium (PhD, Wayne State University) is Professor and Chair of Sociology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has had a long-standing program of research on the social organization of care in human services institutions and pioneered in the reconceptualization of qualitative methods and the development of narrative analysis. Dr. Gubrium has published widely on aging, the life course, medicalization, and representational practice in therapeutic context.

As collaborators for 20 years, Drs. Holstein and Gubrium have developed a distinctive constructionist approach to everyday life in a variety of coauthored and coedited projects.


"This handbook presents an encyclopedic treatment of the contours of constructionism as a theoretical stance and an empirical endeavor. Organized around disciplinary domains, empirical topics, and methodological strategies, the book addresses the historical foundations of constructionism as well as current challenges facing constructionist work. Remarkably, the editors have resisted the temptation to sacrifice depth for scope; instead, they cover immense empirical and theoretical territory in a sophisticated yet accessible way. This is a 'must have' resource for students and scholars committed to understanding what social realities are constructed, how they come into being, and the consequences for understanding and ameliorating social problems."--Valerie Jenness, Department of Criminology, Law and Society, and Department of Sociology, University of California, Irvine

"Holstein and Gubrium have edited one of the most exciting and innovative research handbooks of the last decade. This highly pluralistic, intellectually stimulating, and thoroughly comprehensive work presents the many varied facets and perspectives contained within constructionist approaches to research. The more than 50 contributors include an impressive, international cohort of writers from multiple disciplines. Of particular interest to applied psychology are excellent chapters on interviewing, psychological inquiry, therapy, emotion, the body, and the philosophical and historical foundations of constructionist inquiry. This book belongs on the desks of all clinical, counseling, health, and educational psychologists who are interested in current ontological and epistemological discussions around research, knowledge generation, and meaning making. A welcome, nuanced, and decidedly readable text."--Paul M. Camic, Research Director, Clinical Psychology Program, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK

"The time is ripe for this handbook, and Holstein and Gubrium--foundational voices in constructionist discourse--are the persons to do it. The field has matured and come of age, surviving four decades of conflict and controversy. Its future is exciting and promising. This handbook takes the constructionist mosaic into a new century. The field owes Holstein and Gubrium a huge debt for so brilliantly managing this project."--Norman K. Denzin, College of Communications Scholar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"It would be difficult to imagine a more complete compendium on the state of constructionism at this time. The editors have taken great care to cover the theoretical underpinnings of constructionism, its anchors in the disciplines, its methodological deployments, and a range of applications, including gender, medicine and therapy, race and ethnicity, emotions, and others. For those committed to the constructionist approach to phenomenological research, there is no better guide to the many practices and theoretical avenues from which to choose, nor could anyone find a better set of discussions of how social constructionist/constructivist philosophies might be utilized with differing methodological strategies and texts."--Yvonna S. Lincoln, College of Education and Human Development, Texas A&M University

"Amid a plethora of handbooks, this one stands out. It tracks the diffusions, foundations, controversies, and remarkable empirical fruitfulness of constructionism in the social sciences. The authors come from multiple disciplines, and the volume is unusually coherent for an edited work. I was particularly struck by what gets 'talked into being' in the name of a constructionism invested in critically taking stock of its analytic and empirical ambitions, intellectual antecedents, new directions, and continuing challenges. From Strauss, Foucault, and Berger and Luckmann to what is on the horizon, from ethnomethodology to cultural studies, across issues of agency and determinism, typologies, traditions, and new imaginaries, I got a taste of the future in this collection, which should stand the test of serving as a resource for quite some time to come."--Patti Lather, author of Getting Lost: Feminist Efforts Toward a Double(d) Science

"Although this book offers an outstanding overview of how constructionist research is conducted across the social sciences and applied fields, it achieves something even more substantial. It challenges both professor and student to question the very foundations of their theoretical claims and scientific practices. The work presented in these pages is provocative, creative, and rich in interpretive and social analysis. This handbook is ideal for seminar discussion and should be on the shelf of every researcher who aspires to apply a constructionist lens to his or her field of study."--Jefferson A. Singer, PhD, Dean of the College and Faulk Foundation Professor of Psychology, Connecticut College

A useful, if massive, guide to grasping the entirety of what they call the 'constructionist mosaic' is offered in this volume by Holstein and Gubrium, two accomplished editors and longtime collaborators widely recognized for their insightful conceptual, methodological, and empirical contributions to constructionist studies. They have assembled an international array of highly accomplished scholars as chapter authors. This is a scholarly reference work of use to social-behavioral researchers as well as graduate students seeking a more complete and thorough understanding of what comprises the social constructionist enterprise....From my point of view as a teacher of philosophical and methodological issues in social science research this book is invaluable as a guide to the literature and as a comprehensive treatment of the many ways in which the perspective of social constructionism is practically treated as a social research process as well as conceived as both an epistemology and theory of research....Volumes that address complex and dynamic topics in the social sciences...often do not provide a comprehensive enough view of the subject matter and there is high risk that the contents will be superseded in several years. This Handbook is an exception. Gubrium and Holstein have assembled and organized an impressive volume that will serve as guide both to current thinking in this arena and to what is likely to come.
--Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, 11/7/2007