(2003). The combined use of personal construct psychology and activity theory as a framework for interpreting the process of independent learning.
In: Chiara, Gabriele and Nuzzo, Maria Laura eds.
Psychological constructivism and the social world.
Milan, Italy: Franco Angeli, pp. 142–154.
What is the connection between a theory of knowledge and the social world? And, more specifically, what personal construct psychology (PCP) has to do with values such as social justice or empowerment?
Those who share an interest in PCP could, and maybe should give a contribution to issues of social and political importance, especially in the historical period we are going through, characterised as it is by economic inequalities, ethnic and religious conflicts, and environmental deterioration. However, the PCP community has not been showing enough interest in social and political matters up to now. As a consequence, it does not appear as a member of the emerging movement of critical psychology. And yet, what joins the main disciplinary components of critical psychology — that is, sociological critical theory, psychological social constructionism, philosophical hermeneutics — is the common theoretical critiques of how mainstream psychology pursues knowledge. Scientific knowledge — mainstream psychology claims — is about facts, not about values, and an accumulation of objective facts devoid of personal and political interests can solve all human problems. Kelly refused this view of knowledge fifty years ago. In the light of a postmodern view of knowledge, the claim that science is value-free is an illusion. We have no direct or immediate access to a real world independent of our interpretation. We are enmeshed in the world, embedded in a historical culture, which provides us with descriptions of possible meanings we can give to our realities, our lives, ourselves. In doing research, in helping clients, in training students, as well as in all our daily activities, we are carriers of values. This is a view that all personal construct psychologists can easily share. This volume wants to give a contribution in this direction offering new views in the fields of education, management, health and social services, assessment, counselling, clinical psychology and psychotherapy.
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