All that we do creates some sort of relationship with others and with our environment. The question remains: what kind of relation are we crafting? Action research, with its emphasis on collaboration among researchers and community members (co-researchers), attempts to generate forms of practice that are useful for that specific community rather than provide a singular answer to a social challenge. This sort of relationship is distinct from the long-standing tradition of research that positions an expert researcher as providing objectively produced discoveries concerning social issues. One might say, in fact, that action research embraces an ethic of discursive potential – that is, an ethic of expanding the possibilities for those involved in the research endeavor as well as expanding whose voices are heard. This chapter focuses on ethics in action research seen from a relational constructionist stance and presents two illustrative examples.
Rather than assuming that psychological terms mirror natural categories in the world and that the task of the helping professions is to find ways to discover, diagnose and treat these categories, our goal is to inquire about the status of the categories as an aid to then focusing on therapeutic responses. To that end, we unsettle trauma by exploring its social ontology as a disorder as well as its grammar. Feminist and cultural critiques of PTSD illustrate the limitations of the dominant discourse of trauma, moving trauma from individual pathology to social pathology. We offer two illustrations from the family therapy literature that draw upon polyphony, inner dialogues and the creation of new narratives to expand beyond the pathologising potentials of the discourse of trauma.
This article aims to review the main criticisms of social construction (SC) after its formalization as a “movement” in the social sciences. The critiques are organized into six dominant areas that define the relationship between SC and reality, truth, language, human nature, scientific enterprise, and society. For each one of these categories, the more frequent objections raised over time by scholars will be outlined and counterarguments will be offered, centering on common misunderstandings of SC. We show how the major difficulty in embracing SC principles is attributable to the use of incommensurate assumptions and misunderstandings of the aim of social construction.