GSE Publications

Document Type

Book Chapter

Date of this Version

January 2008


Education is not a discipline, but a phenomenon. We conceptualize education as a fuzzy set of processes that occur in events and institutions that involve both informal socialization and formal learning. Various objects are constructed in educational processes, like the identities of teachers and learners, the subject matter learned and the social structures produced and reproduced. These objects are constructed through mechanisms that involve various levels of organization, including psychological, interactional, cultural and social elements. Constructionist approaches to education are important because they can help educators understand and change the highly enabling and constraining outcomes that educational processes have. Constructionist inquiries illuminate how learners' identities and competence, distinctions between valued and devalued subject matter, and the social organization of schooling are constructed, and in so doing they may help education better achieve its transformative potential.


Postprint version. Handbook of Constructionist Research, edited by J. Holstein and J. Gubrium, pages 107-127. Reprinted with permission of The Guilford Press.
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Date Posted: 11 June 2008