Social Constructionism Definition Sociology & Social Constructionism Examples
Social Constructionism Definition Sociology/Social Constructionism Theory
Social Constructionism is a theory that understands society as being built by individuals and the way they interact with one another.
It creates the idea that humans create social reality rather than discover it. Furthermore, individuals are not born with an inherent understanding of what society expects from them; they learn these ideas through socialization processes.
Specifically, language plays an integral role in allowing us to understand our relationships within society and how we can take control over them (or not).
Sociology is the study of social behavior on a wide scale. Social constructionism, or simply constructionism, is one type of sociology that examines how humans create the society and social rules through their interactions with each other.
Constructionism has been criticized for over-reliance on anecdotal evidence and for being too subjective to be considered scientific.
Social Constructionism Examples
What are examples of Social Constructionism?
The Social Constructionist perspective considers how social processes shape our understanding of the world. It argues that what we know about the world is not simply a reflection of “reality,” but instead, it is shaped by society and culture. Therefore, reality does not exist independently from human beings and their social interactions.
The idea that the social world is created through people’s interactions with one another. Society’s shared beliefs and values create social phenomena.
- Language is a social construction: That language and meaning are not inherent in things but rather emerge from social interaction, and the meaning of words can be changed over time.
- The notion that reality is socially constructed by those who interact with it.
- That gender roles are socially constructed ( gender is a social construct)
- The idea that social structures are created by society.
Social Constructionism Gender
Social constructionism refers to a theory that is based on the idea that gender and sexuality are changeable. Social constructionism has gained popularity in recent years, but it has its roots in Karl Marx’s writings.
For example, Aristotle argued males were stronger and more rational than females because they came from colder climates while women were weaker due to living in warmer places.
These ideas can be considered examples of social constructionist thought everywhere from British philosopher John Locke’s work “Some Thoughts Concerning Education” (1693).
It claimed boys are better suited for education than girls because their minds develop more rapidly at a young age, to American psychologist BF Skinner’s controversial book “Beyond Freedom & Dignity” (1971).
Social constructionism gender theory is a social psychological theory that has been studied in the fields of psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
Social Constructionism Gender Theory states that gender roles are developed through the socialization process.
Although people have been arguing about sex and gender for thousands of years, the concept of social constructionism is a relatively new one.
Social constructionists believe that most (if not all) ideas about what makes someone female or male are socially constructed. That is, they are products of human societies rather than universal characteristics.
Criticisms and weaknesses of Constructionism
- Critics point out that constructionism can be difficult for teachers because it requires them to change their teaching methods, such as incorporating more hands-on activities and group work into lessons.
- Some critics also argue that constructionist approaches may not be appropriate for all students or in all subjects since different people have different ways of understanding new information.
- Constructionism is not a new theory, and The constructionist approach does not provide for the development of general skills.
- It isn’t easy to measure progress in this type of learning environment.
- Constructionism can be too abstract and theoretical, which may lead students to lose interest.
What Is Social Constructivism
Social Constructivism is a theory that believes that society’s rules are created through social interactions and shared meanings.
Social Constructivism International Relations
What Is Social Constructivism International Relations
Constructivism is a theory of international relations that emphasizes human consciousness’s role in the construction of social reality and meaning.
Social Constructivism International Relations theory argues that “international relations are not objective, but instead are socially constructed by actors through their interactions.”
A constructivist perspective on IR would focus on how actors understand their interests, identify problems, and make sense of events.
The idea that knowledge is socially constructed has been applied to other disciplines such as geography and sociology.
Social constructionism was first introduced into the study of international relations in the 1980s by three different groups of scholars. The first feminist IR theorists were Drucilla K. Barker 1989 and Ann JTickner, 1992 who argued that IR’s claim to be a value-free science is wrong and not possible because Western values inform its concepts.
The second group included postmodernists who argue that reality is socially constructed and there are no objective facts about the world (Finnemore & Sikkink, 1998).
The third group includes constructivists who question social scientific methods for studying human behavior while also incorporating ideas from Marxism, feminism, and critical theory.
Social Constructivism International Relations Examples
- The United Nations is a social constructivist organization.
- A social constructivist perspective on the Cold War would be that it was an international conflict between capitalist and communist ideologies.
- One example of this is when the U.S. government encouraged its citizens to buy American products during World War II.
Social Constructivism Vygotsky
Social constructivism is a variety of cognitive constructivism that emphasizes the collaborative nature of much learning.
Social constructivism was developed by post-revolutionary Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky was cognitivist but rejected the assumption made by cognitivist such as Piaget and Perry that it was possible to separate learning from its social context.
He argued that all cognitive functions originate in (and must therefore be explained as products of) social interactions and that learning did not simply comprise the assimilation and accommodation of new knowledge by learners; it was the process by which learners were integrated into a knowledge community.
For example, Vygotsky (1978) states that cognitive development stems from social interactions from guided learning within the proximal development zone as children and their partner co-construct knowledge.
Social Constructionism Vs. Social Constructivism
Social Constructionism believes that society and culture are created by people, while social constructivism believes that knowledge, ideas, and beliefs are all constructed by society.
Social constructionism argues for an objective reality based on what we know about history and science. Social constructivism argues against this idea of a fixed reality; instead, it believes in subjective reality.
Social constructionism focuses on how language shapes our perception of the world, while social constructivism focuses more on how language reflects our perceptions.
Social constructionism relies heavily on qualitative methods to study human behavior, whereas social constructivism uses quantitative methods.
The two theories have different views on how people create their own realities in life: for example;
Someone who subscribes to social constructionism would argue that an individual creates their own reality based on what they have learned from others around them.
Whereas someone who subscribes to social constructivism would argue that an individual creates his or her own reality based on what he or she has learned from others around them but also because of the rules imposed upon him/her by society at large (e.g., laws).
In summary :
The idea that reality is constructed by society and not inherent to the world; creates our own reality, which can be seen as a form of power or privilege.
Reality is created through social interaction and communication with others; we construct our realities together rather than individually.