||Social Construction of What
||The Haworth Press, Inc., © 1999
Harvard University Press
79 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138-1423
Anyone who gets pleasure out of incendiary verbal jousting can get it
immediately by bringing up social construction of reality and science.
There is possibly no more polarized dispute with the possible exception
of recovered memories of child sexual abuse. Most often a fight
about this contentious debate is well-entrenched people lobbing mortar
shells at each other with little or no resolution or common ground.
This book tries to get out of that impasse.
The author studiously avoids presenting either side as winner or loser.
Instead, he seeks to present what either side says that can be separated from
the debate and reasonably considered. It is a valiant and courageous
effort and to some extent he succeeds. As a scientist I tended to have
little or no time for social constructionism. After reading this book, I
can at least say that I could talk more rationally to an advocate of social
constructionism or postmodern thought. I think I could find an initial
ground for agreement in recognizing the role that personal subjective factors
play in the conduct of science.
This is a good book and many can benefit from a careful and thoughtful
reading of it.
Reviewed by Ralph Underwager, Institute for Psychological Therapies.