The Constructivist Metaphor
"The Constructivist Metaphor" presents a major reconsideration of constructivist theory through an applied examination of the ways in which people create meaning for texts. Spivey first delineates major constructivist positions from the early 20th century, including Frederic Bartlett's description of the discourse processes of individuals, small groups, and large communities. Then she concentrates on reading and writing processes as they were variously perceived throughout the 1970s and 1980s. These cultural and cognitive avenues of investigation provide an essential starting point for her presentation of the late 20th century approaches to the generative, organizational, and selective nature of human communication. The work illustrates an integrative conception of discourse, placing cognitive activity in relation to the text while assuming a social orientation encompassing both composition and comprehension. It describes constructivist concepts in terms of their similarities and differences. It applies theoretical positions to case studies in reading and writing and presents conclusions useful to scholars working on issues of comprehension and communication.