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The Reality of Social Construction

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Table of Contents

Part I. Social Ontology: 1. Introduction; 2. Norm circles; Part II. Culture: 3. Culture and rules; 4. Institutional reality; Part III. Language: 5. Signification; 6. Langue and parole; 7. Categories, essences and sexes; Part IV. Discourse: 8. Discourse; 9. Cultures and classes; 10. Subjects; Part V. Knowledge: 11. Knowledge; 12. Reality; 13. Conclusion.

About the Author

Dave Elder-Vass is a Lecturer in Sociology at Loughborough University. He is the author of The Causal Power of Social Structures (Cambridge University Press, 2010).


'In his typically clear and engaging style, Dave Elder-Vass here articulates an important new position in social theory, one offering to reconcile realism and social constructionism. With many insightful commentaries along the way about such thinkers as Archer, Searle and Saussure, The Reality of Social Construction is not only a theoretical advance but an apt choice for courses in social theory.' Douglas V. Porpora, Drexel University 'Social constructionism is an influential approach in social science that easily runs off the rails, but critical realism keeps our thinking on track. Dave Elder-Vass's account of social constructionism makes a valuable contribution to the growing body of critical realist theorizing of social life. A must-read for anyone sorting out the promise and pitfalls of social constructionist social science.' Christian Smith, Author of What is a Person?: Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good from the Person Up (2010) '... perhaps the best known of the latest generation of realist social theorists ... there is a great deal to be appreciated in Elder-Vass's discussion of prominent thinkers ... his account of John Searle's work is one of the best I have read.' Jamie Morgan, Journal of Critical Realism

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