Social Accountability and the Social Construction of 'You'. Thirty Years On

Main Article Content

John Shotter


Central to all that follows below is a certain vision of the world and of our knowledge of it: that both consist in activities of various kinds (Shotter, 1984; Wertsch, 1981). And also, a certain stance towards the conduct of research into such activity: that of investigating its nature from a position of active involvement in it, rather than contemplative withdrawal from it. Such a stance immediately raises questions about how the nature of the involvements in which one finds oneself placed should be best characterized. I shall claim that they are best characterized, not by reference to one's own characteristics, those of first-person actors, of 'I's', but by reference to the nature of 'you's', the second-person recipients or addressees of actor's or speaker's activities. And that a central feature of any such characterization must articulate the nature of the moral proprieties, the 'ethical logistics' of the exchanges between 'I's' and 'you's' - to do with who has responsibility for what activity in the social construction of the meanings of any communications between them.

With reflections from Justine van Lawick, Jim Wilson, Sheila McNamee, Mary Gergen, John Burnham, Kenneth Gergen, Andy Lock and Ann Cunliffe.

Article Details

How to Cite
Shotter, J. (2019). Social Accountability and the Social Construction of ’You’. Thirty Years On. Murmurations: Journal of Transformative Systemic Practice, 2(1), 67–96.