Construction versus Realism? The Unrealized Potential of Communicative Constructivism


  • Hubert Knoblauch Collaborative Research Centre "Refiguration of Space", Technische Universität Berlin
  • Michaela Pfadenhauer Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Vienna



Social construction of reality, Social constructionism, New realism, Critical realism, Polarization


The ideas linked to the formulation “Social Construction of Reality” (SoCo) have spilled over from the Social Sciences and Humanities to public discourses, e.g. on gender and truth, and form in epistemic terms the crossroads of the polarization of liberal and anti-liberal world views par excellence. By focusing on the “academic debate” about the theory of Social Construction of Reality we argue that the polemical misuse of “social construction,” quite common in public and political discourse, also characterizes New Realism. This recent philosophical movement frames its innovative character first by reframing the problem of the social construction of reality from social theory to philosophy and such failing the basic idea of the entire approach, and second, by referring not to Social Construction of Reality but to a specific understanding of “Social Constructionism.” However, the numerous critiques of SoCo over time have led to Communicative Constructivism (CoCo) as a comprehensive reformulation within Sociology of Knowledge. As an empirically grounded theory, CoCo relates to new forms of realisms constituted in their opposition to SoCo.


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How to Cite

Knoblauch, H., & Pfadenhauer, M. (2023). Construction versus Realism? The Unrealized Potential of Communicative Constructivism . Sociologica, 17(1), 119–136.