chapter  12
23 Pages

Whatever happened to ‘social constructiveness’?


In his two books Psychology and Primitive Culture (1923) and Remembering (1932) Frederic Bartlett talked at some length about a process he called ‘social constructiveness’. By contrast, his later books, The Mind at Work and Play (1951) and Thinking (1958) showed little or none of this earlier preoccupation. What happened to the idea? I don’t want to explain its departure from Bartlett’s personal publications-that would be a matter of biography. I want to pose the question of what happened to social constructiveness as a theme for discussion in the relevant academic circles. Has it simply disappeared from the analysis of cognition and knowledge of the kind that interested Bartlett? To begin with, however, I must define the terms involved. What is social constructiveness?