The Social Turn In The Science Of Human Action

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Published In

Meaning In Action: Constructions, Narratives, And Representations


In psychological science the social world has always stood as a dark and silent specter. The fact of our existence in a social world is clear enough. However, the point of psychological science is to illuminate the activities of the mind. How are we to understand perception, thought, the emotions, motivation, learning, and the like? To carry out research on such processes it is essential to cut them away from the social world, to treat them as independent entities subject to investigation in their own right. In this context, if the social world is to exist at all, there are two major possibilities: First, others’ actions may serve as a stimulus input, perturbing the internal mechanisms in one fashion or another. Or, social action may result from the operation of the internal mechanisms. In both cases, if recognized at all, the social world is secondary and/or derivative. And yet, the specter remains to haunt the field with reminders of how central to daily life are the relationships in which we are immersed. It whispers of possibilities that the social world may just be primary, and the mental world secondary or derivative.

Published By

Springer Japan


Edited by T. Sugiman, Kenneth J. Gergen, W. Wagner, And Y. Yamada

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