Social Psychology as Social Construction

In most general terms, social psychology deals with the study of the ways and degrees to which macro-social circumstances influence human beings on the micro level. As such, social psychology without exaggeration plays a critical role among other branches of social sciences as it establishes a traditionally missing link between psychological accounts of human personality, which often tend to omit the external social influences, and the macro-sociological theories of the ways humans interact in society that in their turn may disregard the role of individual as such and reduce it to its certain social functions. In this frame of reference, social psychology is a hybrid perspective which is focused on the interplay between the psychological and sociological realms, and on the ensuing new connections and corresponding research tasks and problems. Social psychologists are fully aware of the fact that if existing social connections were changed, then the very essence of human self with its cognitive, emotional, and communicative capabilities would change as well. As an example of this, I can think of people who live in authoritarian societies and who, to the great surprise of those living in democratic countries, seem to be quite content with their lot. I suppose that this becomes possible when successive generations are being brought up within a certain culture that literally shapes world views of all its members. That such vast socio-psychological experiments are possible is another vindication of the validity and importance of the concern of social psychology with the connection between individual and social spheres.
With all this in mind, I would say that social psychology is based on a certain dualism between social and personal, and I believe that this sensation can be further strengthened by pointing out another feature of social psychology related to its methodology. As a matter of fact, the range of methodologies used for social psychological research can be divided into two groups – ‘scientific’ and ‘qualitative’. The first approach is aiming to obtain measurable data, for the sake of which controlled experiments are usually implemented. However, as adherents of the qualitative approach claim, such a straightforward methodology is often inapplicable in the sphere of relations between people, because the factor of the presence of an observer can greatly influence the outcome of an experiment.