Research Topic

Advances in Social Constructionism and its Implications for Career Development.

About this Research Topic

As a paradigm, social constructionism has emerged over at least the last 30 years to explain why and how people perceive and behave differently in a variety of career contexts. The employment of this paradigm, which aims to specify the interaction between individual characteristics and environmental features, helps establish a holistic understanding of the mechanism and process of change. A number of theories exist on this paradigm, the most prominent of which include; Narrative Theory (Cochran, 1990), Action-Oriented Contextual Career Theory (Young, Valach, & Collin, 1996), Career Construction Theory (Savickas, 2005), and Dialogical-Self Theory (McIlveen & Patton, 2007). However, these theories are continuously evolving.

This Research Topic aims to address several challenges of social constructionism that remain unexplored in the study of careers.

First, the integration of existing theoretical arguments and methodological issues is warranted. Commonalities should be extended to demonstrate the ‘evolving’ nature of contemporary social constructionism, particularly to incorporate the advantages of constructivism. The integration of existing arguments and the commonality of their methodological issues will strengthen the social constructivist school of thought in the study of careers.

Second, empirical studies of how social construction and meaning-making processes can be constructed within a variety of settings are necessary. Reflection and dialogue are socially constructed and the mutual strengthening of these mechanisms in the interpersonal interaction should be investigated.

Third, social constructionism is largely rooted in qualitative investigations into daily conversations that occur in interpersonal interactions. Career counseling through images, rather than traditional verbal responses, may not be limited to merely building productive working alliances with students or clients but also to ‘externalize’ their career-related problems or difficulties. Further investigation is warranted into how digital storytelling can be used to conduct in-depth exploration in social constructivist career counseling contexts, thereby strengthening insights into cognitive inflexibility, incessant fixed thoughts, and counterfactual thinking through one-time or repeated consultations.

In addition to explorations of the intersection of constructivism and social constructionism through various conceptual frameworks, we welcome empirical and theoretical contributions from diverse disciplines. Such contributions should elaborate on the mechanisms that are developed within social constructionism and specify their application to career counseling.

We are keen to expand scholarship in career theory and counseling to a multidisciplinary perspective to build on the existing insights of social constructionism on career development. Submissions are encouraged to fall under the following non-exhaustive list of content areas—for the sake of theoretical advancement and applicability to career-related issues:

• Social construction mechanisms that influence career behavior in various settings
• Career agency and motivation
• Career construction through goal-directed action
• Meaning-making processes during career difficulties
• Reflection as dialogue
• Reflection through dialogue
• Effective career feedback
• Career writings
• Self-confrontation and video playback
• The daily materials used to externalize and reframe career-related problems
• Digital storytelling
• Evidence-based career interventions


Keywords: constructivism, career, counciling, careerdevelopment, career construction, dialogue, meaning-making, narrative, reflection, social constructionist perspectives.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

As a paradigm, social constructionism has emerged over at least the last 30 years to explain why and how people perceive and behave differently in a variety of career contexts. The employment of this paradigm, which aims to specify the interaction between individual characteristics and environmental features, helps establish a holistic understanding of the mechanism and process of change. A number of theories exist on this paradigm, the most prominent of which include; Narrative Theory (Cochran, 1990), Action-Oriented Contextual Career Theory (Young, Valach, & Collin, 1996), Career Construction Theory (Savickas, 2005), and Dialogical-Self Theory (McIlveen & Patton, 2007). However, these theories are continuously evolving.

This Research Topic aims to address several challenges of social constructionism that remain unexplored in the study of careers.

First, the integration of existing theoretical arguments and methodological issues is warranted. Commonalities should be extended to demonstrate the ‘evolving’ nature of contemporary social constructionism, particularly to incorporate the advantages of constructivism. The integration of existing arguments and the commonality of their methodological issues will strengthen the social constructivist school of thought in the study of careers.

Second, empirical studies of how social construction and meaning-making processes can be constructed within a variety of settings are necessary. Reflection and dialogue are socially constructed and the mutual strengthening of these mechanisms in the interpersonal interaction should be investigated.

Third, social constructionism is largely rooted in qualitative investigations into daily conversations that occur in interpersonal interactions. Career counseling through images, rather than traditional verbal responses, may not be limited to merely building productive working alliances with students or clients but also to ‘externalize’ their career-related problems or difficulties. Further investigation is warranted into how digital storytelling can be used to conduct in-depth exploration in social constructivist career counseling contexts, thereby strengthening insights into cognitive inflexibility, incessant fixed thoughts, and counterfactual thinking through one-time or repeated consultations.

In addition to explorations of the intersection of constructivism and social constructionism through various conceptual frameworks, we welcome empirical and theoretical contributions from diverse disciplines. Such contributions should elaborate on the mechanisms that are developed within social constructionism and specify their application to career counseling.

We are keen to expand scholarship in career theory and counseling to a multidisciplinary perspective to build on the existing insights of social constructionism on career development. Submissions are encouraged to fall under the following non-exhaustive list of content areas—for the sake of theoretical advancement and applicability to career-related issues:

• Social construction mechanisms that influence career behavior in various settings
• Career agency and motivation
• Career construction through goal-directed action
• Meaning-making processes during career difficulties
• Reflection as dialogue
• Reflection through dialogue
• Effective career feedback
• Career writings
• Self-confrontation and video playback
• The daily materials used to externalize and reframe career-related problems
• Digital storytelling
• Evidence-based career interventions


Keywords: constructivism, career, counciling, careerdevelopment, career construction, dialogue, meaning-making, narrative, reflection, social constructionist perspectives.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

09 November 2020 Abstract
09 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

09 November 2020 Abstract
09 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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