The Contextualist Construction Of Deviant Conduct

But there are practitioners and scholars who operate from a different worldview, namely, contextualism— a worldview the root metaphor of which is the historical act in all its complexity. Novelty and change are features of this alternative worldview that provides the foundation for a nontraditional approach to the classification of intentional actions. Historical acts are engaged in by people. Further, historical acts are narrated, told as accounts, anecdotes, and stories in which men and women make choices to resolve their everyday problems of living. Because contextual-ists construct the world in terms of historical actions, they look for reasons for such actions, unlike the mechanistically inclined clinician who would look for causes.

The contextualist worldview directs us to see human beings not only as biological specimens, but as agents, as doers, as performers and problem solvers. In so doing, we are perforce obliged to develop understandings of how human beings employ narrative structure to shape their life histories.

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