4th Edition

Social Constructionism

By Vivien Burr Copyright 2025
    350 Pages
    by Routledge

    350 Pages
    by Routledge

    The fourth edition of this seminal work introduces students to social constructionism. Using a variety of examples from everyday experience and from existing research in areas such as personality, sexuality and health, it clearly explains the basic theoretical assumptions of social constructionism.

    Drawing on a range of empirical studies, the book clearly defines the various approaches to social constructionist theory and research and explores the theoretical and practical issues they raise. It presents and analyses key debates, such as the nature and status of knowledge, truth, reality, and the self, in an accessible style. The new edition has been updated with relevant and contemporary references to aid understanding of key theoretical and methodological issues. The author additionally utilises new illustrative examples from research and contemporary life, such as the #MeToo movement, BlackLivesMatter, and Post-Truth politics. The updated work has also been expanded to include an extended discussion of affect and embodiment and a number of exercises to help illustrate important concepts.

    Social Constructionism extends and updates the material covered in previous editions and will be an invaluable and informative resource for undergraduate and postgraduate students of Psychology, Sociology, Education, and other related disciplines.



    1. What is Social Constructionism?

    2. The Case for Social Constructionism

    3. The Role of Language in Social Constructionism

    4. What is a Discourse?

    5. Is There a Real World Outside Discourse?

    6. Identity and Subjectivity in Macro Social Constructionism

    7. Identity and Subjectivity in Micro Social Constructionism

    8. Social Constructionist Research.

    9. Issues and Debates in Social Constructionism


    Suggested Further Reading




    Vivien Burr is Emerita Professor of Critical Psychology at the University of Huddersfield, UK. In addition to Social Constructionism, she is the author of Gender and Social Psychology, The Person in Social Psychology and Invitation to Personal Construct Psychology (with Trevor Butt). She is currently researching the psycho-social meaning of outdoor spaces (with Nigel King).

    Vivien Burr’s Social Constructionism is one of the most accessible texts on this complex philosophical approach to social science. In this fourth edition, she has provided some critical updates which illustrate the breadth and reach of social constructionist thinking, incorporating, for example, the recent emergence of new materialism which examines how objects in the world, from rocks to PowerPoint presentations, acquire their meaning and status as definite “things” which exist independently of human beings.  Using easy to understand examples and illustrations to bring social constructionist ideas and thinking to life, this book is a must read for any beginner on the subject as well as for those already familiar with it. Its lively and engaging writing makes this text a hugely enjoyable as well as an informative and thought provoking read.

     - Penny Dick, Sheffield University Management School

    Reading this book is an absolute feast: Not only did Prof. Vivien Burr write a masterpiece and game-changer for the ways in which science and knowledge are understood and practiced in the social sciences, but in this revised edition she even makes social constructionist theories more practical and useful through numerous examples and specific applications. Her blending of theory, innovation, and practice is masterful and insightful, while being clear and applicable. This book does more than ‘cover the territory’ of social constructivism: it brings it to life through its theoretical varieties in the field of psychotherapy, education, consultation, and research. It is impossible to read this book without feeling that it has somehow provoked and inspired our ways of doing research or being a practitioner!

     - Prof. Marco Gemignani, Department of Psychology, Universidad Loyola Andalucía, Spain.