Every morning, before Rom Harré enters his office, he carries out a simple but important activity. He has the daily habit of doing crosswords as a way to maintain brain activity. When we asked him about this habit, he answered that “There are two kinds of crosswords – ‘cryptic’ which involves solving a puzzle and ‘quick’ which involves finding synonyms. The second one is what helps to activate the word store, by first of all activating synonyms in the search for a particular word and secondarily, since the clues are related only accidentally by spelling, to search the lexicon at random.” Thus, to do a crossword is a great way to wake up the neurons using general knowledge, from math to literature, from history to sport. “So always start the day with a quick crossword,” Rom advised us. By following this advice, we propose this interview as a crossword exercise through which we activate a heterogeneous store of key words and topics related to Rom Harré’s work. With a number of concepts and ideas in mind, we talked with Rom about the work he developed during the crisis of social psychology, as well as about his current and future lines of inquiry. We conducted the exercise with the support of a number of colleagues; guests authors whose personal contact or professional work with Rom has allowed us to present him in a more intimate way.
Harré is a person for whom intellectual adventure is incompatible with prejudice and dogma. He is a professor and a scientist with a sensitivity and intelligence which allows him to see things that many others do not. Although he is a really difficult man to summarize, we start this interview introducing his main contributions to psychology in general and social psychology in particular. Next, we present an interview with Rom Harré. It crosses the borders of place, authors and disciplines, and is composed of four parts. In the first part -“Across (disciplines and places)”- we outline an approach to the author, from his multidisciplinary academic trajectory, to the different universities that he has worked in and visited during his career. In the second part, “Down (within a field): Social psychology in the seventies and eighties”, the discursive turn, social constructionism and positioning theory take the fore. In the third part, “Transversely (discourse, power and selves)” we address key concepts in social sciences and in Rom’s own work. Finally, in the last part, we propose some “New lines for the future”. In that section we talk with the author about the future of research in social science and social psychology, and about the main research lines to follow in the next decade.
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