5SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONISM ANDTHE CONSTRUCTIONIST VIEW OF KNOWLEDGE

5.1 INTRODUCTION

This chapter marks a step in extending the discussions around knowledge management (KM) in the direction of social constructionism (SC) for a theory of knowledge, critical social psychology for a view of knowledge and language in action, and a methodology for research.

The aim of the chapter is essentially to lay out the arguments for a discursive approach to knowledge work in social interaction drawing on a constructionist epistemology and view of the world. Laying some early groundwork, the position taken here differentiates between critical social psychology and experimental social psychology: the former is positioned as a challenge to the latter and its adherence to traditional experimental methods of research (viz., laboratory, also referred to as the “positivist” approach). In using the term “critical social psychology,” and following Wendy Stainton Rogers, we refer to developing new perspectives on what social psychology should be, and should be concerned with, and which draws on, among other ideas, SC and discourse analysis. Consequently, all of the following discussions are located within the context of critical social psychology, thus providing some clear boundaries. The objective is to establish the foundations for what follows throughout the rest of this book by fitting together all of the pieces to form an intelligible and relevant picture.

We start with a brief account of SC, which ...

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