I n summarizing, let me say that the journey from my first to my last essay has crossed a continental divide that is not peculiar to the field of family therapy alone. Most fields today are coping with the pell-mell criss-crossing of the new influences I have described: French deconstructionism, German critical theory, Foucault-type discourse analysis, poststructuralism, narrative theory, hermeneutics, social constructionism, and feminist critical theory. All these strands come together to make up the dense tapestry called postmodern thought.
Despite its diversity, this movement marks a major shift in human studies from a belief in objective, bias-neutral research to a kind of self-conscious and sophisticated subjectivity. This is not a new direction. Charles Cooley, quoted earlier in this century by the American social philosopher George Herbert Mead ( 1964), stated that "the imaginations which people have of one another are the solid facts of society".
The postmodernists add that these imaginations are not confined to peoples' minds but are part of a Penelope's web that is continually woven and rewoven between them. The line between individual