Relational Being: Beyond Self and Community

ISBN : 9780199846269

Kenneth J. Gergen
448 ページ
155 x 229 mm

Relational Being first builds on the broad discontent with the individualist tradition in which the rational agent, or autonomous self, is considered the fundamental atom of social life. Speaking to scholars and social practitioners, the work sets out to develop and illustrate a far more radical and potentially exciting landscape of relational thought and practice. It carves out a space of understanding in which relational process stands prior to the very concept of the individual. More broadly, the book attempts to develop a thoroughgoing relational account of human activity. As Gergen proposes, all meaning grows from coordinated action, or coaction, and thus, all that we hold to be real, rational, and valuable depends on the well-being of our relationships. Gergen reconstitutes "the mind" as a manifestation of relationships and bears out these ideas in everyday life and professional practices, including psychotherapy, collaborative classrooms, and organizational development. He questions the idea of mental illness, and focuses on therapy as a means of fostering relational recovery. Gergen also explores the ways in which what we call "knowledge" issues from communities, rather than from individual minds. The volume concludes with an innovative exploration of moral action and spirituality.


Prologue: Toward a New Enlightenment
Part I: From Bounded to Relational Being
Chapter 1 - Bounded Being
Self as Abuse
Fundamental Isolation
Unrelenting Evaluation
The Search for Self-Esteem
Self and Other
Distrust and Derogation
Relationships as Artifi ce
The Culture of Bounded Being
The Costs of Calculation
Public Morality as Nuisance
Transforming Tradition
Chapter 2 - In the Beginning Is the Relationship
Co-Action and Creation
The Co-Creation of Everything
Co-Action and Constraint
Multiplicity and Malleability
Relational Flow: Failing and Flourishing
From Causality to Confl uence
Chapter 3 - The Relational Self
Being Unbound
The Very Idea of Self-Knowledge
Call in the Experts
From Mind to Relationship
Mind as Action in Relationship
Reason as Relationship
Agency: Intention as Action
Experience and Memory: Not Mine but Ours
Creativity as Relational Achievement
Chapter 4 - The Body as Relationship: Emotion, Pleasure, and Pain
The Emotions in History and Culture
The Dance of the Emotions
Relational Scenarios
Disrupting Dangerous Dances
Aren't the Emotions Biological?
Bodily Pleasure: The Gift of Co-Action
Pain: The Final Challenge
Part II: Relational Being in Everyday Life
Chapter 5 - Multi-Being and the Adventures of Everyday Life
Early Precursors: Depth Psychology
Contemporary Precursors: Living with Others
Critique and Coherence
Picturing Multi-Being
Coordination: The Challenge of Flight
Meeting and Mutuality
Sustenance and Suppression
Everyday Perils: Relations Among Relations
Counter-Logics and Relational Deterioration
The Arts of Coordination
Understanding: Synchrony in Action
Affirmation: The Birth and Restoration of Collaboration
Appreciative Exploration
Chapter 6 - Bonds, Barricades, and Beyond
The Thrust Toward Bonding
Cementing Bonds
Negotiating the Real and the Good
Narrative: From Self to Relationship
The Enchanting of "We"
Bonding and Boundaries
Relational Severing
Erosion of the Interior: United We Fall
The Tyranny of Truth
From Erosion to Annihilation
Beyond the Barricades
Hot Confl ict and Transformative Dialogue
The Public Conversations Project
Narrative Mediation
Restorative Justice
Part III Relational Being in Professional Practice
Chapter 7 - Knowledge as Co-Creation
Knowledge as Communal Construction
Disturbing Disciplines
Pervasive Antagonism
Discipline and Debilitation
The Elegant Suffi ciency of Ignorance
Knowledge: For Whose Benefit?
Toward Transcending Disciplines
Interweaving Disciplines
The Emerging Hybrids
The Return of the Public Intellectual
Writing as Relationship
Writing in the Service of Relationship
Writing as a Full Self
Scholarship as Performance
Research as Relationship
Relational Alternatives in Human Research
Narrative Inquiry: Entry into Otherness
Action Research: Knowing With
Chapter 8 - Education in a Relational Key
Aims of Education Revisited
Circles of Participation
Relational Pedagogy in Action
Circle 1: Teacher and Student
Circle 2: Relations Among Students
Collaborative Classrooms
Collaborative Writing
Circle 3: Classroom and Community
Community Collaboration
Cooperative Education
Service Learning
Circle 4: The Classroom and the World
Circles Unceasing
Chapter 9 - Therapy as Relational Recovery
Therapy in Relational Context
The Social Genesis of "
The Origins of Therapeutic Solutions
Relational Consequences of Therapy
A Contemporary Case: Mind and Meds
Therapy: The Power of Coordinated Action
Rejection and Affi rmation
Suspending Realities
Realities Replaced
Expanding the Therapeutic Repertoire
From Fixed Reality to Relational Flow
Beyond Language: The Challenge of Effective Action
Chapter 10 - Organizing: The Precarious Balance
Organizing: Life Through Affi rmation
Beware the Organization
Suppression of Voices
The Organization Against Itself
Separation from Cultural Context
Decision-Making as Relational Coordination
Polyphonic Process: Lifting Every Voice
Decision-Making Through Appreciative Inquiry
From Leadership to Relational Leading
From Evaluation to Valuation
The Organization-in-the-World
Part IV From the Moral to the Sacred
Chapter 11- Morality: From Relativism to Relational Responsibility
The Challenge of Moral Conduct
Immorality Is Not the Problem
Moralities Are the Problem
Toward Second-Order Morality
Relational Responsibility in Action
From Co-Existence to Community
Beyond the Beginning
Chapter 12 - Approaching the Sacred
Metaphors of the Relational
The Procreative Act
Systems Theory
Actor Networks
Distributed Cognition
Biological Interdependence
Process Philosophy
The Buddha Dharma: Inter-Being
The Sacred Potential of Relational Being
Toward Sacred Practice
Epilogue: The Coming of Relational Consciousness


Kenneth J. Gergen graduated from Yale University and received his PhD from Duke University. After teaching at Harvard University, he joined the Swarthmore College faculty as the Chair of the Psychology Department. He remains there as a Senior Research Professor. He is also the President of the Taos Institute. His work has received numerous awards throughout the world.