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Kenneth Gergen

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Kenneth J. Gergen is a notable American psychologist and professor at Swarthmore College. He obtained his B.A. at Yale University in 1957 and his Ph.D. at Duke University in 1962.

After completing graduate school in experimental social psychology, Gergen set off what has been dubbed the "crisis in social psychology" in 1973 with the publication of his article, "Social Psychology as History" [1]. In the article, Gergen argues that the laws and principles of social interaction are highly variable over time, and that the scientific knowledge generated by social psychologists actually influences the phenomena it is meant to passively describe. The article proved highly contentious, garnering large amounts of both criticism and support from various social psychologists.

Gergen's work is associated with social constructionism. He has been particularly concerned with fostering a "relational" view of the self--where the "traditional emphasis on the individual mind is replaced by a concern with the relational processes from which rationality and morality emerge." He is also famous for his comment "I am linked therefore I am" as an answer to Descartes view "I think, therefore I am". Other major interests in his diverse works include analyzing the effects of technology on social life, examining connections between social construction and theology, and promoting a more optimistic model of aging.

He helped found the TAOS Institute in 1993. He has received numerous prizes and awards, including fellowships from the Guggenheim, Fulbright, and Humboldt foundations. He and his wife, Mary Gergen, currently publish the news letter Positive Aging, with a readership of at least 12,000.

He is brother of political strategist David Gergen. He is married to Dr. Mary Gergen, a Psychology professor at Pennsylvania State University - Delaware County. Mary Gergen is the author of over 50 articles and is the co-author (with Ken Gergen) of "Social Construction". Ken Gergen was born in North Carolina.


  • Realities and Relationships: Sounding in Social Construction
  • The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life
  • An Invitation to Social Construction
  • Social Construction in Context

External links

da:Kenneth Gergen
ru:Герген, Кеннет
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