Social Construction in a World at Risk: Toward a Psychology of Experience

Benjamin Bradley, John Morss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This essay sets up a relationship between social constructionism and the risk theory of Ulrich Beck. This dialogue is mutually enhancing. Risk theory adds a conceptualization of societal process to the relational focus of social constructionism as justified by Kenneth Gergen. It both establishes the particular character of a social world put at risk by its own modernization and proves the identity between individualization and societalization. Simultaneously, social constructionism goes beyond the traditionally individualized phenomenology of mental life in a way that is compatible with but as yet lacking in Beck's approach. Potential heir to the marriage we broker is something that stands outside the thinking of either partner: a psychology of experience. We argue that this psychology both bids fair to transform Enlightenment ambitions for the subject and provides a new conception of the task faced by the growing number of psychologists whose work is to grapple with the problems of those who live 'at risk'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-531
Number of pages23
JournalTheory and Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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