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Political construing
The exploration of political construing (in PCP terms) involves using PCT as a theoretical framework in order to understand, and make sense of, those events affecting the realm of life that we usually call "psychological" by those events and decisions in the realm of life that we usually call "political". Political construing helps reduce tensions about so called irrational behavior. Politics makes sense only on the assumption that it is a highly rational effort fulfilling the objective needs of society. Therefore it discounts human behaviors which are seen as irrational. On the other hand, psychology deals with human conduct that is difficult to understand, often labeled as irrational. PCP claims to solve the problem between the claims of politics and aims of psychology, claiming that every behavior is rational, having an ad interim logic not necessarily understandable from the point of view of perceiver. The label of irrationality in PCP is construed as evidence that behavior is not understood properly, and therefore a need for better understanding of "irrational" behavior in politics is advocated.

Both politics and psychology are concerned with a process of change. In both of them change is desirable, whether called political progress or psychological development, respectively. Both areas are concerned with the undesired effects of change - disorders (e.g. bloodshed in politics; mental disturbance in psychology). Political construing helps the understanding of the implications of those situations, when desired change in one of these fields induces undesired effects in the other – as in the case of transitions. Transition as a political term refers mainly to periods in which an important aspect of state organization is being changed; its aim is to change outer circumstances in order to produce desired effects. Transition in PCP refers to the states in which someone's construct system is subjected to revision or replacement, aimed at change in personal meanings. Reconstruction, the desired change of meaning in PCP, means that what we call a change in the outer world is not reached only by the change of the inherent properties of world itself, but in addition a change of meaning that we ascribe to that world. If political changes are not followed by psychological reconstruction of meaning, they can produce further anxieties and tensions instead of targeted welfare.


  • Bannister, D. (2003): Personal construct theory and politics and politics of personal construct theory. In: F. Fransella (Ed.) International Handbook of Personal Construct Psychology, 181-191. Chichester: Wiley.
  • Du Preez, (1980): Social Psychology of Politics. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  • Stojnov, D. (1996): A Personal Construction of War in Yugoslavia: Transition as a way of life. In: B. Walker & D. Kalekin-Fishman (Eds.), The construction of group realities – culture, society, and personal construct theory, 95-103. Malabar, FL: Krieger.
  • Stojnov, D. (2003): Psihologija licnih konstrukata: Uvod u teoriju i terapiju (Psychology of Personal Constructs: Introduction to Theory and Therapy). Belgrade: Zepter Bookworld.  

Dušan Stojnov

Establ. 2003
Last update: 15 February 2004