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.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc