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Constructionism and Positivism: From Conflict to Co-Creation
11 June 2019 -
17:00 - 18:30

Constructivism and Positivism: From Conflict to Co-Creation

NIAS TALK @ SPUI25 with Kenneth Gergen

Psychologist Kenneth Gergen (emeritus of Swarthmore College and listed among the 50 most influential living psychologists in the world, NIAS Fellow in 1988-89) will speak about Constructivism and how this school of inquiry may relate to Positivism. This lecture will be followed by a 10-minute response of psychologist and methodologist Angélique Cramer, Q&A with the audience, and some drinks.

“The so called “science wars” of recent decades have left a residue of tension within many of the social sciences. Deliberation on such issues as objectivity, validity, and ideology have given rise to sharp disagreements on the legitimacy of competing forms of inquiry. Because such divisiveness also undermines the potentials of the sciences, reconsideration is essential. As I will propose, because philosophic differences are principally irresolvable, we may usefully inquire into shared aspirations for the scientific contribution to society. An attitude of reflective pragmatism may thus inform our choices of research questions and practice. As I will illustrate, the contribution of social science to pressing issues of society is significantly enriched by working together in broadening, combining, and creating methods of inquiry; germinating multiple perspectives; and enhancing critical consciousness.”

About Kenneth Gergen

Kenneth Gergen is a Senior Research Professor at Swarthmore College, and the President of the Taos Institute. Primary among his copious writings are: Realities and Relationships: Soundings in Social Construction (Harvard University Press, 1994), The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life (2nd ed. Basic Books, 2001), An Invitation to Social Construction (3rd ed. Sage, 2015), and the award winning, Relational Being: Beyond Self and Community (Oxford University Press, 2009). He has served as an editor of the American Psychologist, and is the co-founder of the journals, Theory and Psychology, and Qualitative Psychology. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The Fulbright-Hays Program, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. along with the Decade of Behavior Award from the National Communication Association, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Graduate School at Duke University. Gergen has received honorary degrees from Tilburg University, and the University of Athens, and is an Honorary Professor at the University of Buenos Aires. He is listed among the 50 most influential living psychologists in the world. He was a NIAS Fellow in 1988-89.

About Angélique Cramer

Angélique Cramer (1979) is one of the founders of the network approach to psychopathology, where a disorder such as depression is seen as the possible consequence of symptoms that cause each other.

She obtained her PhD cum laude in psychological methodology (2013) and has quickly become an expert in the field of network models and complex dynamic systems. She directs a successful line of research in which, together with her team, she works on better methods for estimating networks for individuals. Through her column ‘De Gereedschapskist’ (The Toolbox) in the monthly magazine de Psycholoog (the Psychologist), Angélique Cramer makes methodological and statistical issues accessible to a wider audience.

NIAS Alumni

This NIAS TALK with and by NIAS alumni is initiated by alumna Celeste Wilderom, Professor in Change Management & Organizational Behavior at University Twente and NIAS Fellow in ’89/’90


You can sign up for this program for free via the website of SPUI25. If you subscribe for the program we count on your presence. If you are unable to attend, please let us know via spui25@uva.nl | T: +31 (0)20 525 8142.