Context in Person, Person in Context

Glenn Adams

in The Oxford Handbook of Personality and Social Psychology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398991
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Context in Person, Person in Context


This chapter applies a cultural psychology framework to provide a macrosocial account of social-personality psychology. Extending the standard social-psychological emphasis on the importance of context, the first section considers the cultural constitution of personal experience. A history of engagement with particular cultural affordances shapes a person with an associated set of residual tendencies such that what appear to be “personal” dispositions are instead a form of context in person: embodied traces of a person’s engagement with ecological structures of mind that continually reconstitute the person’s habitual ways of being. Extending an emphasis on importance of subjective construal, the second section considers the psychological constitution of cultural worlds. As people act on subjective interpretations, their behavior leaves traces on objective realities to create a form of person in context: everyday constructions of reality that bear the influence of personal activity. In this way, a cultural psychology analysis balances the traditional social psychological emphasis on “the power of the situation” with a restored emphasis on the power of the culturally grounded person as (re)constructor of intentional worlds.

Keywords: action; cultural affordance; ecological; habitus; identity; intentional world; mutual constitution; selfways

Article.  20941 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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