The Social Construction of Self

Kenneth J. Gergen

in The Oxford Handbook of the Self

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199548019
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

The Social Construction of Self

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  • Social and Political Philosophy
  • Moral Philosophy



This article evaluates the view that the self is social constructed. It explains that a social constructionist approach to the self is critical insofar as it targets many of the traditional conceptions of self under discussion in this volume. It analyses the primary use of the term self in psychological and mental discourse, suggesting many ways in which the sources of knowledge about the realm of the mental are open to question. It cites the work of Michel Foucault and others who develop a sustained critique of what may be the dark side of the construction of the self as an autonomous, alienated entity differentiated from the other.

Keywords: self; social construction; psychological discourse; mental discourse; Michel Foucault; alienated entity

Article.  9139 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Social and Political Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy

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