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Social constructionism

"Constructed reality" redirects here. For the effect in reality television, see Criticism of reality television § Scripting and staging.
Not to be confused with Social constructivism.

Social constructionism is a theory of knowledge in sociology and communication theory that examines the development of jointly-constructed understandings of the world that form the basis for shared assumptions about reality. The theory centers on the notion that meanings are developed in coordination with others rather than separately within each individual. It has often been characterised as neo-Marxian or also as a neo-Kantian theory, in that social constructionism replaces the transcendental subject with a concept of society that is at the same time descriptive and normative.

While some social constructs are obvious, for instance money or the concept of currency, in that people have agreed to give it importance/value, others are controversial and hotly debated, such as the concept of self/self-identity. This articulates the view that people in society construct ideas or concepts that may not exist without the existence of people or language to validate those concepts.

There is weak and strong social constructionism. Weak social constructionism relies on brute facts – facts that are not socially constructed, such as, arguably, facts about physical particles – or institutional facts (which are formed from social conventions).

It has been objected that strong social constructionism undermines the foundation of science as the pursuit of objectivity and, as a theory, defies any attempt at falsifying it.

Contents

A social construct or construction is the meaning, notion, or connotation placed on an object or event by a society, and adopted by the inhabitants of that society with respect to how they view or deal with the object or event.

Social constructionism posits that phenomena do not have an independent foundation outside the mental and linguistic representation that people develop about them throughout their history, and which becomes their shared reality. From a linguistic viewpoint, social constructionism centres meaning as an internal reference within language (words refer to words, definitions to other definitions) rather than to an external reality.

Each person creates their own "constructed reality" that drives their behaviors.

In the 16th century, Michel de Montaigne wrote that, "We need to interpret interpretations more than to interpret things." In 1886 or 1887, Friedrich Nietzsche put it similarly: "Facts do not exist, only interpretations." In his 1922 book Public Opinion, Walter Lippmann said, "The real environment is altogether too big, too complex, and too fleeting for direct acquaintance" between people and their environment. Each person constructs a pseudo-environment that is a subjective, biased, and necessarily abridged mental image of the world, and to a degree, everyone's pseudo-environment is a fiction. People "live in the same world, but they think and feel in different ones." Lippman's "environment" might be called "reality", and his "pseudo-environment" seems equivalent to what today is called "constructed reality".

Social constructionism has more recently been rooted in "symbolic interactionism" and "phenomenology". With Berger and Luckmann's The Social Construction of Reality published in 1966, this concept found its hold. More than four decades later, much theory and research pledged itself to the basic tenet that people "make their social and cultural worlds at the same time these worlds make them." It is a viewpoint that uproots social processes "simultaneously playful and serious, by which reality is both revealed and concealed, created and destroyed by our activities." It provides a substitute to the "Western intellectual tradition" where the researcher "earnestly seeks certainty in a representation of reality by means of propositions."

In social constructionist terms, "taken-for-granted realities" are cultivated from "interactions between and among social agents;" furthermore, reality is not some objective truth "waiting to be uncovered through positivist scientific inquiry." Rather, there can be "multiple realities that compete for truth and legitimacy." Social constructionism understands the "fundamental role of language and communication" and this understanding has "contributed to the linguistic turn" and more recently the "turn to discourse theory." The majority of social constructionists abide by the belief that "language does not mirror reality; rather, it constitutes [creates] it."

A broad definition of social constructionism has its supporters and critics in the organizational sciences. A constructionist approach to various organizational and managerial phenomena appear to be more commonplace and on the rise.

Andy Lock and Tom Strong trace some of the fundamental tenets of social constructionism back to the work of the 18th-century Italian political philosopher, rhetorician, historian, and jurist Giambattista Vico.

Berger and Luckmann give credit to Max Scheler as a large influence as he created the idea of Sociology of knowledge which influenced social construction theory.

According to Lock and Strong, other influential thinkers whose work has affected the development of social constructionism are: Edmund Husserl, Alfred Schutz, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, Jürgen Habermas, Emmanuel Levinas, Mikhail Bakhtin, Valentin Volosinov, Lev Vygotsky, George Herbert Mead, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Gregory Bateson, Harold Garfinkel, Erving Goffman, Anthony Giddens, Michel Foucault, Ken Gergen, Mary Gergen, Rom Harre, and John Shotter.

Personal construct psychology

Since its appearance in the 1950s, personal construct psychology (PCP) has mainly developed as a constructivist theory of personality and a system of transforming individual meaning-making processes, largely in therapeutic contexts.[excessive citations] It was based around the notion of persons as scientists who form and test theories about their worlds. Therefore, it represented one of the first attempts to appreciate the constructive nature of experience and the meaning persons give to their experience. Social constructionism (SC), on the other hand, mainly developed as a form of a critique, aimed to transform the oppressing effects of the social meaning-making processes. Over the years, it has grown into a cluster of different approaches, with no single SC position. However, different approaches under the generic term of SC are loosely linked by some shared assumptions about language, knowledge, and reality.

A usual way of thinking about the relationship between PCP and SC is treating them as two separate entities that are similar in some aspects, but also very different in others. This way of conceptualizing this relationship is a logical result of the circumstantial differences of their emergence. In subsequent analyses these differences between PCP and SC were framed around several points of tension, formulated as binary oppositions: personal/social; individualist/relational; agency/structure; constructivist/constructionist.[excessive citations] Although some of the most important issues in contemporary psychology are elaborated in these contributions, the polarized positioning also sustained the idea of a separation between PCP and SC, paving the way for only limited opportunities for dialogue between them.

Reframing the relationship between PCP and SC may be of use in both the PCP and the SC communities. On one hand, it extends and enriches SC theory and points to benefits of applying the PCP "toolkit" in constructionist therapy and research. On the other hand, the reframing contributes to PCP theory and points to new ways of addressing social construction in therapeutic conversations.

Educational psychology

Like social constructionism, social constructivism states that people work together to construct artifacts. While social constructionism focuses on the artifacts that are created through the social interactions of a group, social constructivism focuses on an individual's learning that takes place because of his or her interactions in a group.

Social constructivism has been studied by many educational psychologists, who are concerned with its implications for teaching and learning. For more on the psychological dimensions of social constructivism, see the work of Ernst von Glasersfeld and A. Sullivan Palincsar.

Systemic therapy

Some of the systemic models that use social constructionism include Narrative Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy

Crime

Potter and Kappeler (1996), in their introduction to Constructing Crime: Perspective on Making News And Social Problems wrote, "Public opinion and crime facts demonstrate no congruence. The reality of crime in the United States has been subverted to a constructed reality as ephemeral as swamp gas."

Criminology has long focussed on why and how society defines criminal behavior and crime in general. While looking at crime through a social constructionism lens, we see evidence to support that criminal acts are a social construct where abnormal or deviant acts become a crime based on the views of society. Another explanation of crime as it relates to social constructionism are individual identity constructs that result in deviant behavior. If someone has constructed the identity of a "madman" or "criminal" for themselves based on a society's definition, it may force them to follow that label, resulting in criminal behavior.

Communication studies

A bibliographic review of social constructionism as used within communication studies was published in 2016. It features a good overview of resources from that disciplinary perspective The collection of essays published in Galanes and Leeds-Hurwitz (2009) should also be useful to anyone interested in how social construction actually works during communication. This collection was the result of a conference held in 2006, sponsored by the National Communication Association as a Summer institute, entitled "Catching ourselves in the Act: A Collaboration to Enrich our Discipline Through Social Constructionist Approaches." Briefly, the basic assumption of the group was that "individuals jointly construct (create) their understandings of the world and the meanings they give to encounters with others, or various products others create. At the heart of the matter is the assumption that such meanings are constructed jointly, that is, in coordination with others, rather than individually. Thus the term of choice most often is social construction." At that event, John Stewart in his keynote presentation, suggested it was time to choose a single term among the set then common (social constructionist, social constructivism, social constructivist), and proposed using the simpler form: social construction. Those present at the conference agreed to that use, and so that is the term most often used in this book, and by communication scholars since then. During discussion at the conference, participants developed a common list of principles:

  • 1. Communication is the process through which we construct and reconstruct social worlds.
  • 2. Communication is constitutive; communication makes things.
  • 3. Every action is consequential.
  • 4. We make things together. We construct the social worlds we share with others as relational beings.
  • 5. We perceive many social worlds existing simultaneously, and we continue to shape them. Other people's social worlds may be different from ours. What we inherit is not our identity.
  • 6. No behavior conveys meaning in and of itself. Contexts afford and constrain meanings.
  • 7. Ethical implications and consequences derive from Principles 1-6.

A survey of publications in communication relating to social construction in 2009 found that the major topics covered were: identity, language, narratives, organizations, conflict, and media.

Berger and Luckmann

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Constructionism became prominent in the U.S. with Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann's 1966 book, The Social Construction of Reality. Berger and Luckmann argue that all knowledge, including the most basic, taken-for-granted common sense knowledge of everyday reality, is derived from and maintained by social interactions. In their model, people interact on the understanding that their perceptions of everyday life are shared with others, and this common knowledge of reality is in turn reinforced by these interations. Since this common sense knowledge is negotiated by people, human typifications, significations and institutions come to be presented as part of an objective reality, particularly for future generations who were not involved in the original process of negotiation. For example, as parents negotiate rules for their children to follow, those rules confront the children as externally produced "givens" that they cannot change. Berger and Luckmann's social constructionism has its roots in phenomenology. It links to Heidegger and Edmund Husserl through the teaching of Alfred Schutz, who was also Berger's PhD adviser.

Narrative turn

During the 1970s and 1980s, social constructionist theory underwent a transformation as constructionist sociologists engaged with the work of Michel Foucault and others as a narrative turn in the social sciences was worked out in practice. This particularly affected the emergent sociology of science and the growing field of science and technology studies. In particular, Karin Knorr-Cetina, Bruno Latour, Barry Barnes, Steve Woolgar, and others used social constructionism to relate what science has typically characterized as objective facts to the processes of social construction, with the goal of showing that human subjectivity imposes itself on those facts we take to be objective, not solely the other way around. A particularly provocative title in this line of thought is Andrew Pickering's Constructing Quarks: A Sociological History of Particle Physics. At the same time, social constructionism shaped studies of technology – the Sofield, especially on the social construction of technology, or SCOT, and authors as Wiebe Bijker, Trevor Pinch, Maarten van Wesel, etc. Despite its common perception as objective, mathematics is not immune to social constructionist accounts. Sociologists such as Sal Restivo and Randall Collins, mathematicians including Reuben Hersh and Philip J. Davis, and philosophers including Paul Ernest have published social constructionist treatments of mathematics.[citation needed]

Postmodernism

Within the social constructionist strand of postmodernism, the concept of socially constructed reality stresses the ongoing mass-building of worldviews by individuals in dialectical interaction with society at a time. The numerous realities so formed comprise, according to this view, the imagined worlds of human social existence and activity, gradually crystallized by habit into institutions propped up by language conventions, given ongoing legitimacy by mythology, religion and philosophy, maintained by therapies and socialization, and subjectively internalized by upbringing and education to become part of the identity of social citizens.

In the book The Reality of Social Construction, the British sociologist Dave Elder-Vass places the development of social constructionism as one outcome of the legacy of postmodernism. He writes "Perhaps the most widespread and influential product of this process [coming to terms with the legacy of postmodernism] is social constructionism, which has been booming [within the domain of social theory] since the 1980s."

The stronger criticism that can be levelled at social constructionism is that it generally ignores the contribution made by physical and biological sciences or misuses them in social sciences. Most notably, social constructionists assume society as both a descriptive and normative term, thereby failing to provide adequate explanation as to what they mean by society, whether it be an ideological concept or a description of any historically located community.

As a theory, social constructionism rejects the influences of biology on behaviour and culture, or suggests that they are unimportant to achieve an understanding of human behaviour, while the scientific consensus is that behaviour is a complex outcome of both biological and cultural influences. Social constructionism has been criticized for having an overly narrow focus on society and culture as a causal factor in human behavior, excluding the influence of innate biological tendencies, by psychologists such as Steven Pinker in The Blank Slate as well as by Asian Studies scholar Edward Slingerland in What Science Offers the Humanities. John Tooby and Leda Cosmides used the term "standard social science model" to refer to social theories that they believe fail to take into account the evolved properties of the brain.

Social constructionism equally denies or downplays to a significant extent the role that meaning and language have for each individual, seeking to configure language as an overall structure rather than a historical instrument used by individuals to communicate their personal experiences of the world. This is particularly the case with cultural studies, where personal and pre-linguistic experiences are disregarded as irrelevant or seen as completely situated and constructed by the socio-economical superstructure.

In 1996, to illustrate what he believed to be the intellectual weaknesses of social constructionism and postmodernism, physics professor Alan Sokal submitted an article to the academic journal Social Text deliberately written to be incomprehensible but including phrases and jargon typical of the articles published by the journal. The submission, which was published, was an experiment to see if the journal would "publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions." In 1999, Sokal, with coauthor Jean Bricmont published the book Fashionable Nonsense, which criticized postmodernism and social constructionism.

Philosopher Paul Boghossian has also written against social constructionism. He follows Ian Hacking's argument that many adopt social constructionism because of its potentially liberating stance: if things are the way that they are only because of our social conventions, as opposed to being so naturally, then it should be possible to change them into how we would rather have them be. He then states that social constructionists argue that we should refrain from making absolute judgements about what is true and instead state that something is true in the light of this or that theory. Countering this, he states:

But it is hard to see how we might coherently follow this advice. Given that the propositions which make up epistemic systems are just very general propositions about what absolutely justifies what, it makes no sense to insist that we abandon making absolute particular judgements about what justifies what while allowing us to accept absolute general judgements about what justifies what. But in effect this is what the epistemic relativist is recommending.

Woolgar and Pawluch argue that constructionists tend to 'ontologically gerrymander' social conditions in and out of their analysis.

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Books

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  • Searle, J., The Construction of Social Reality. New York: Free Press, 1995; ISBN 0-02-928045-1.
  • Shotter, J. Conversational realities: Constructing life through language. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1993.
  • Stewart, J., Zediker, K. E., & Witteborn, S. Together: Communicating interpersonally – A social construction approach (6th ed). Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury, 2005.
  • Weinberg, D. Contemporary Social Constructionism: Key Themes. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2014.
  • Willard, C. A., Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge: A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996; ISBN 0-226-89845-8.
  • Wilson, D. S. (2005), "Evolutionary Social Constructivism". In J. Gottshcall and D. S. Wilson, (Eds.), The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative. Evanston, IL, Northwestern University Press; ISBN 0-8101-2286-3. Full text

Articles

  • Drost, Alexander. "Borders. A Narrative Turn – Reflections on Concepts, Practices and their Communication", in: Olivier Mentz and Tracey McKay (eds.), Unity in Diversity. European Perspectives on Borders and Memories, Berlin 2017, pp. 14–33.
  • Kitsuse, John I.; Spector, Malcolm (April 1973). "Toward a Sociology of Social Problems: Social Conditions, Value-Judgments, and Social Problems". Social Problems. 20 (4): 407–419. doi:10.2307/799704. JSTOR 799704.
  • Mallon, R, "Naturalistic Approaches to Social Construction", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta (ed.).
  • Metzner-Szigeth, Andreas (2015). "Constructions of Environmental Issues in Scientific and Public Discourse". Figshare. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.1317394.Cite journal requires |journal= ()
  • Shotter, J., & Gergen, K. J., Social construction: Knowledge, self, others, and continuing the conversation. In S. A. Deetz (Ed.), Communication Yearbook, 17 (pp. 3– 33). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1994.
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Social constructionism
Social constructionism Article Talk Language Watch Edit Constructed reality redirects here For the effect in reality television see Criticism of reality television Scripting and staging Not to be confused with Social constructivism Social constructionism is a theory of knowledge in sociology and communication theory that examines the development of jointly constructed understandings of the world that form the basis for shared assumptions about reality The theory centers on the notion that meanings are developed in coordination with others rather than separately within each individual 1 It has often been characterised as neo Marxian or also as a neo Kantian theory in that social constructionism replaces the transcendental subject with a concept of society that is at the same time descriptive and normative 2 While some social constructs are obvious for instance money or the concept of currency in that people have agreed to give it importance value 3 others are controversial and hotly debated such as the concept of self self identity 4 This articulates the view that people in society construct ideas or concepts that may not exist without the existence of people or language to validate those concepts 5 There is weak and strong social constructionism 3 Weak social constructionism relies on brute facts facts that are not socially constructed such as arguably facts about physical particles or institutional facts which are formed from social conventions 3 It has been objected that strong social constructionism undermines the foundation of science as the pursuit of objectivity and as a theory defies any attempt at falsifying it 6 Contents 1 Overview 2 Origins 3 Applications 3 1 Personal construct psychology 3 2 Educational psychology 3 3 Systemic therapy 3 4 Crime 3 5 Communication studies 4 History and development 4 1 Berger and Luckmann 4 2 Narrative turn 4 3 Postmodernism 5 Criticisms 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 8 1 Books 8 2 Articles 9 External linksOverview EditA social construct or construction is the meaning notion or connotation placed on an object or event by a society and adopted by the inhabitants of that society with respect to how they view or deal with the object or event 7 Social constructionism posits that phenomena do not have an independent foundation outside the mental and linguistic representation that people develop about them throughout their history and which becomes their shared reality 8 From a linguistic viewpoint social constructionism centres meaning as an internal reference within language words refer to words definitions to other definitions rather than to an external reality 9 10 Origins Edit Each person creates their own constructed reality that drives their behaviors In the 16th century Michel de Montaigne wrote that We need to interpret interpretations more than to interpret things 11 In 1886 or 1887 Friedrich Nietzsche put it similarly Facts do not exist only interpretations In his 1922 book Public Opinion Walter Lippmann said The real environment is altogether too big too complex and too fleeting for direct acquaintance between people and their environment Each person constructs a pseudo environment that is a subjective biased and necessarily abridged mental image of the world and to a degree everyone s pseudo environment is a fiction People live in the same world but they think and feel in different ones 12 Lippman s environment might be called reality and his pseudo environment seems equivalent to what today is called constructed reality Social constructionism has more recently been rooted in symbolic interactionism and phenomenology 13 14 With Berger and Luckmann s The Social Construction of Reality published in 1966 this concept found its hold More than four decades later much theory and research pledged itself to the basic tenet that people make their social and cultural worlds at the same time these worlds make them 14 It is a viewpoint that uproots social processes simultaneously playful and serious by which reality is both revealed and concealed created and destroyed by our activities 14 It provides a substitute to the Western intellectual tradition where the researcher earnestly seeks certainty in a representation of reality by means of propositions 14 In social constructionist terms taken for granted realities are cultivated from interactions between and among social agents furthermore reality is not some objective truth waiting to be uncovered through positivist scientific inquiry 14 Rather there can be multiple realities that compete for truth and legitimacy 14 Social constructionism understands the fundamental role of language and communication and this understanding has contributed to the linguistic turn and more recently the turn to discourse theory 14 15 The majority of social constructionists abide by the belief that language does not mirror reality rather it constitutes creates it 14 A broad definition of social constructionism has its supporters and critics in the organizational sciences 14 A constructionist approach to various organizational and managerial phenomena appear to be more commonplace and on the rise 14 Andy Lock and Tom Strong trace some of the fundamental tenets of social constructionism back to the work of the 18th century Italian political philosopher rhetorician historian and jurist Giambattista Vico 16 Berger and Luckmann give credit to Max Scheler as a large influence as he created the idea of Sociology of knowledge which influenced social construction theory 17 According to Lock and Strong other influential thinkers whose work has affected the development of social constructionism are Edmund Husserl Alfred Schutz Maurice Merleau Ponty Martin Heidegger Hans Georg Gadamer Paul Ricoeur Jurgen Habermas Emmanuel Levinas Mikhail Bakhtin Valentin Volosinov Lev Vygotsky George Herbert Mead Ludwig Wittgenstein Gregory Bateson Harold Garfinkel Erving Goffman Anthony Giddens Michel Foucault Ken Gergen Mary Gergen Rom Harre and John Shotter 16 Applications EditPersonal construct psychology Edit Since its appearance in the 1950s personal construct psychology PCP has mainly developed as a constructivist theory of personality and a system of transforming individual meaning making processes largely in therapeutic contexts 18 19 20 21 22 23 excessive citations It was based around the notion of persons as scientists who form and test theories about their worlds Therefore it represented one of the first attempts to appreciate the constructive nature of experience and the meaning persons give to their experience 24 Social constructionism SC on the other hand mainly developed as a form of a critique 25 aimed to transform the oppressing effects of the social meaning making processes Over the years it has grown into a cluster of different approaches 26 with no single SC position 27 However different approaches under the generic term of SC are loosely linked by some shared assumptions about language knowledge and reality 28 A usual way of thinking about the relationship between PCP and SC is treating them as two separate entities that are similar in some aspects but also very different in others This way of conceptualizing this relationship is a logical result of the circumstantial differences of their emergence In subsequent analyses these differences between PCP and SC were framed around several points of tension formulated as binary oppositions personal social individualist relational agency structure constructivist constructionist 29 30 31 32 33 34 excessive citations Although some of the most important issues in contemporary psychology are elaborated in these contributions the polarized positioning also sustained the idea of a separation between PCP and SC paving the way for only limited opportunities for dialogue between them 35 36 Reframing the relationship between PCP and SC may be of use in both the PCP and the SC communities On one hand it extends and enriches SC theory and points to benefits of applying the PCP toolkit in constructionist therapy and research On the other hand the reframing contributes to PCP theory and points to new ways of addressing social construction in therapeutic conversations 36 Educational psychology Edit Like social constructionism social constructivism states that people work together to construct artifacts While social constructionism focuses on the artifacts that are created through the social interactions of a group social constructivism focuses on an individual s learning that takes place because of his or her interactions in a group Social constructivism has been studied by many educational psychologists who are concerned with its implications for teaching and learning For more on the psychological dimensions of social constructivism see the work of Ernst von Glasersfeld and A Sullivan Palincsar 37 Systemic therapy Edit Some of the systemic models that use social constructionism include Narrative Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy 38 Crime Edit Potter and Kappeler 1996 in their introduction to Constructing Crime Perspective on Making News And Social Problems wrote Public opinion and crime facts demonstrate no congruence The reality of crime in the United States has been subverted to a constructed reality as ephemeral as swamp gas 39 Criminology has long focussed on why and how society defines criminal behavior and crime in general While looking at crime through a social constructionism lens we see evidence to support that criminal acts are a social construct where abnormal or deviant acts become a crime based on the views of society 40 Another explanation of crime as it relates to social constructionism are individual identity constructs that result in deviant behavior 40 If someone has constructed the identity of a madman or criminal for themselves based on a society s definition it may force them to follow that label resulting in criminal behavior 40 Communication studies Edit A bibliographic review of social constructionism as used within communication studies was published in 2016 It features a good overview of resources from that disciplinary perspective 41 The collection of essays published in Galanes and Leeds Hurwitz 2009 should also be useful to anyone interested in how social construction actually works during communication 42 This collection was the result of a conference held in 2006 sponsored by the National Communication Association as a Summer institute entitled Catching ourselves in the Act A Collaboration to Enrich our Discipline Through Social Constructionist Approaches 43 Briefly the basic assumption of the group was that individuals jointly construct create their understandings of the world and the meanings they give to encounters with others or various products others create At the heart of the matter is the assumption that such meanings are constructed jointly that is in coordination with others rather than individually Thus the term of choice most often is social construction 44 At that event John Stewart in his keynote presentation suggested it was time to choose a single term among the set then common social constructionist social constructivism social constructivist and proposed using the simpler form social construction Those present at the conference agreed to that use and so that is the term most often used in this book and by communication scholars since then 44 During discussion at the conference participants developed a common list of principles 1 Communication is the process through which we construct and reconstruct social worlds 2 Communication is constitutive communication makes things 3 Every action is consequential 4 We make things together We construct the social worlds we share with others as relational beings 5 We perceive many social worlds existing simultaneously and we continue to shape them Other people s social worlds may be different from ours What we inherit is not our identity 6 No behavior conveys meaning in and of itself Contexts afford and constrain meanings 7 Ethical implications and consequences derive from Principles 1 6 44 A survey of publications in communication relating to social construction in 2009 found that the major topics covered were identity language narratives organizations conflict and media 45 History and development EditBerger and Luckmann Edit This section needs additional citations for verification Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed Find sources social construction Berger and Luckmann news newspapers books scholar JSTOR October 2021 Learn how and when to remove this template message Constructionism became prominent in the U S with Peter L Berger and Thomas Luckmann s 1966 book The Social Construction of Reality 46 Berger and Luckmann argue that all knowledge including the most basic taken for granted common sense knowledge of everyday reality is derived from and maintained by social interactions 47 In their model people interact on the understanding that their perceptions of everyday life are shared with others and this common knowledge of reality is in turn reinforced by these interations 48 Since this common sense knowledge is negotiated by people human typifications significations and institutions come to be presented as part of an objective reality particularly for future generations who were not involved in the original process of negotiation For example as parents negotiate rules for their children to follow those rules confront the children as externally produced givens that they cannot change Berger and Luckmann s social constructionism has its roots in phenomenology It links to Heidegger and Edmund Husserl through the teaching of Alfred Schutz who was also Berger s PhD adviser Narrative turn Edit During the 1970s and 1980s social constructionist theory underwent a transformation as constructionist sociologists engaged with the work of Michel Foucault and others as a narrative turn in the social sciences was worked out in practice This particularly affected the emergent sociology of science and the growing field of science and technology studies In particular Karin Knorr Cetina Bruno Latour Barry Barnes Steve Woolgar and others used social constructionism to relate what science has typically characterized as objective facts to the processes of social construction with the goal of showing that human subjectivity imposes itself on those facts we take to be objective not solely the other way around A particularly provocative title in this line of thought is Andrew Pickering s Constructing Quarks A Sociological History of Particle Physics At the same time social constructionism shaped studies of technology the Sofield especially on the social construction of technology or SCOT and authors as Wiebe Bijker Trevor Pinch Maarten van Wesel etc 49 50 Despite its common perception as objective mathematics is not immune to social constructionist accounts Sociologists such as Sal Restivo and Randall Collins mathematicians including Reuben Hersh and Philip J Davis and philosophers including Paul Ernest have published social constructionist treatments of mathematics citation needed Postmodernism Edit Within the social constructionist strand of postmodernism the concept of socially constructed reality stresses the ongoing mass building of worldviews by individuals in dialectical interaction with society at a time The numerous realities so formed comprise according to this view the imagined worlds of human social existence and activity gradually crystallized by habit into institutions propped up by language conventions given ongoing legitimacy by mythology religion and philosophy maintained by therapies and socialization and subjectively internalized by upbringing and education to become part of the identity of social citizens In the book The Reality of Social Construction the British sociologist Dave Elder Vass places the development of social constructionism as one outcome of the legacy of postmodernism He writes Perhaps the most widespread and influential product of this process coming to terms with the legacy of postmodernism is social constructionism which has been booming within the domain of social theory since the 1980s 51 Criticisms EditThe stronger criticism that can be levelled at social constructionism is that it generally ignores the contribution made by physical and biological sciences or misuses them in social sciences 52 Most notably social constructionists assume society as both a descriptive and normative term thereby failing to provide adequate explanation as to what they mean by society whether it be an ideological concept or a description of any historically located community 53 As a theory social constructionism rejects the influences of biology on behaviour and culture or suggests that they are unimportant to achieve an understanding of human behaviour 54 while the scientific consensus is that behaviour is a complex outcome of both biological and cultural influences 55 56 Social constructionism has been criticized for having an overly narrow focus on society and culture as a causal factor in human behavior excluding the influence of innate biological tendencies by psychologists such as Steven Pinker in The Blank Slate 57 as well as by Asian Studies scholar Edward Slingerland in What Science Offers the Humanities 58 John Tooby and Leda Cosmides used the term standard social science model to refer to social theories that they believe fail to take into account the evolved properties of the brain 59 Social constructionism equally denies or downplays to a significant extent the role that meaning and language have for each individual seeking to configure language as an overall structure rather than a historical instrument used by individuals to communicate their personal experiences of the world This is particularly the case with cultural studies where personal and pre linguistic experiences are disregarded as irrelevant or seen as completely situated and constructed by the socio economical superstructure In 1996 to illustrate what he believed to be the intellectual weaknesses of social constructionism and postmodernism physics professor Alan Sokal submitted an article to the academic journal Social Text deliberately written to be incomprehensible but including phrases and jargon typical of the articles published by the journal The submission which was published was an experiment to see if the journal would publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if a it sounded good and b it flattered the editors ideological preconceptions 60 52 In 1999 Sokal with coauthor Jean Bricmont published the book Fashionable Nonsense which criticized postmodernism and social constructionism Philosopher Paul Boghossian has also written against social constructionism He follows Ian Hacking s argument that many adopt social constructionism because of its potentially liberating stance if things are the way that they are only because of our social conventions as opposed to being so naturally then it should be possible to change them into how we would rather have them be He then states that social constructionists argue that we should refrain from making absolute judgements about what is true and instead state that something is true in the light of this or that theory Countering this he states But it is hard to see how we might coherently follow this advice Given that the propositions which make up epistemic systems are just very general propositions about what absolutely justifies what it makes no sense to insist that we abandon making absolute particular judgements about what justifies what while allowing us to accept absolute general judgements about what justifies what But in effect this is what the epistemic relativist is recommending 61 Woolgar and Pawluch 62 argue that constructionists tend to ontologically gerrymander social conditions in and out of their analysis See also Edit Society portal Anekantavada a fundamental doctrine of Jainism setting forth a pluralistic metaphysics and epistemology traceable to Mahavira 599 527 BCE Consensus reality Construct philosophy Constructivism international relations Constructivist epistemology Critical theory Enculturation Epochalism Nature versus nurture Nominalism Parametric determinism Phenomenology psychology Social construction of technology Social epistemology Ubuntu philosophyReferences Edit Leeds Hurwitz Wendy 2009 Social construction of reality In Littlejohn Stephen W Foss Karen A eds Encyclopedia of communication theory Thousand Oaks California SAGE Publications p 891 doi 10 4135 9781412959384 n344 ISBN 978 1 4129 5937 7 Heartfield James 1996 Wolton Suke ed Marxism and social construction Marxism Mysticism and Modern Theory St Antony s Series London Palgrave Macmillan UK pp 7 27 doi 10 1007 978 1 349 24669 4 2 ISBN 978 1 349 24669 4 retrieved 28 September 2021 a b c khanacademymedicine 17 September 2013 Social constructionism Society and Culture MCAT Khan Academy retrieved 12 May 2018 Jorgensen Phillips 16 March 2019 Discourse Analysis PDF Social constructionism Study Journal 4 December 2017 Retrieved 12 May 2018 Koertge Noretta 1998 A House Built on Sand Exposing Postmodernist Myths about Science Oxford University Press ISBN 978 0 19 511726 4 Social Constructionism Encyclopedia com www encyclopedia com Retrieved 23 December 2018 Berger Peter L Luckmann Thomas 26 April 2011 The Social Construction of Reality A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge Open Road Media ISBN 978 1 4532 1546 3 Mallon Ron 2019 Naturalistic Approaches to Social Construction in Zalta Edward N ed The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Spring 2019 ed Metaphysics Research Lab Stanford University retrieved 2 October 2021 St Clair Robert N 1 October 1982 Language and the social construction of reality Language Sciences 4 2 221 236 doi 10 1016 S0388 0001 82 80006 5 ISSN 0388 0001 Derrida Structure Sign and Play 1966 as printed translated by Macksey amp Donato 1970 pp 278 Derrida quotes Montagne Walter Lippmann 1922 Public Opinion Wikidata Q1768450 pp 16 20 Woodruff Smith David 2018 Phenomenology In Zalta Edward N ed The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Stanford California Metaphysics Research Lab Stanford University ISSN 1095 5054 via Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy a b c d e f g h i j Fairhurst Gail T Grant David 1 May 2010 The Social Construction of Leadership A Sailing Guide Management Communication Quarterly Thouisand Oaks California SAGE Publications 24 2 171 210 doi 10 1177 0893318909359697 ISSN 0893 3189 S2CID 145363598 Janet Tibaldo 19 September 2013 Discourse Theory a b Lock Andy Strong Tom 2010 Social Constructionism Sources and Stirrings in Theory and Practice Cambridge New York Cambridge University Press pp 12 29 ISBN 978 0521708357 Leeds Hurwitz pgs 8 9 Bannister Donald Mair John Miller 1968 The Evaluation of Personal Constructs London England Academic Press p 164 ISBN 978 0120779505 Kelly George 1955 The Psychology of Personal Constructs New York City W W Norton p 32 ISBN 978 0415037976 Mair John Miller 1977 The Community of Self In Bannister Donald ed New Perspectives in Personal Construct Theory London England Academic Press pp 125 149 ISBN 978 0120779406 Neimeyer Robert A Levitt Heidi January 2000 What s narrative got to do with it Construction and coherence in accounts of loss Journal of Loss and Trauma Philadelphia Pennsylvania Brunner Routledge 401 412 Procter Harry G 2015 Family Construct Psychology In Walrond Skinner Sue ed Developments in Family Therapy Theories and Applications Since 1948 London England Routledge amp Kega pp 350 367 ISBN 978 0415742603 Stojnov Dusan Butt Trevor 2002 The relational basis of personal construct psychology In Neimeyer Robert A Neimeyer Greg J eds Advances of personal construct theory New directions and perspectives Westport Connecticut Praeger Publishing pp 81 113 ISBN 978 0275972943 Harre R amp Gillett D 1994 The discursive mind London UK Sage Shotter J Lannamann J 2002 The situation of social constructionism Its imprisonment within the ritual of theory criticism and debate Theory amp Psychology 12 5 577 609 doi 10 1177 0959354302012005894 S2CID 144758116 Harre R 2002 Public sources of the personal mind Social constructionism in context Theory amp Psychology 12 5 611 623 doi 10 1177 0959354302012005895 S2CID 144966843 Stam H J 2001 Introduction Social constructionism and its critiques Theory amp Psychology 11 3 291 296 doi 10 1177 0959354301113001 S2CID 5917277 Burr V 1995 An introduction to social constructionism London UK Routledge Botella L 1995 Personal construct psychology constructivism and postmodern thought In R A Neimeyer amp G J Neimeyer Eds Advances in personal construct psychology Vol 3 pp 3 35 Greenwich CT JAI Press Burkitt I 1996 Social and personal constructs A division left unresolved Theory amp Psychology 6 71 77 doi 10 1177 0959354396061005 S2CID 144774925 Burr V 1992 Construing relationships Some thoughts on PCP and discourse In A Thompson amp P Cummins Eds European perspectives in personal construct psychology Selected papers from the inaugural conference of the EPCA pp 22 35 Lincoln UK EPCA Butt T W 2001 Social action and personal constructs Theory amp Psychology 11 75 95 doi 10 1177 0959354301111007 S2CID 145707722 Mancuso J 1998 Can an avowed adherent of personal construct psychology be counted as a social constructions Journal of Constructivist Psychology 11 3 205 219 doi 10 1080 10720539808405221 Raskin J D 2002 Constructivism in psychology Personal construct psychology radical constructivism and social constructionism American Communication Journal 5 3 1 25 Jelena Pavlovic 11 May 2011 Personal construct psychology and social constructionism are not incompatible Implications of a reframing Theory amp Psychology 21 3 396 411 doi 10 1177 0959354310380302 S2CID 146942268 a b Pavlovic Jelena 11 May 2011 Personal construct psychology and social constructionism are not incompatible Implications of a reframing Theory amp Psychology Thousand Oaks California SAGE Publications 21 3 396 411 doi 10 1177 0959354310380302 S2CID 146942268 von Glasersfeld Ernst 1995 Radical Constructivism A Way of Knowing and Learning London Routledge Palincsar A S 1998 Social constructivist perspectives on teaching and learning Annual Review of Psychology 49 345 375 doi 10 1146 annurev psych 49 1 345 PMID 15012472 APA PsycNet psycnet apa org Retrieved 10 May 2021 Gary W Potter Victor W Kappeler eds 1998 Constructing Crime Perspectives on Making News and Social Problems Waveland Press ISBN 0 88133 984 9 Wikidata Q96343487 p 2 a b c Lindgren Sven Ake June 2005 Social Constructionism and Criminology Traditions Problems and Possibilities Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention 6 1 4 22 doi 10 1080 14043850510035119 S2CID 144925991 Leeds Hurwitz Wendy 2016 Social construction In Moy Patricia ed Oxford bibliographies in communication Oxford University Press Galanes Gloria J Leeds Hurwitz Wendy 2009 Socially constructing communication Cresskill NJ Hampton Press Spano Shawn Foss Karen A Kirschbaum Kris 2009 Creating opportunities for social construction The Albuquerque NCA Summer Institute In Galanes Gloria J Leeds Hurwitz Wendy eds Socially constructing communication Cresskill NJ Hampton Press pp 13 31 a b c Galanes Gloria J Leeds Hurwitz Wendy 2009 Communication as social construction Catching ourselves in the act In Galanes Gloria J Leeds Hurwitz Wendy eds Socially constructing communication Cresskill NJ Hampton Press pp 1 9 Leeds Hurwitz Wendy 2009 Social construction Moving from theory to research and back again In Galanes Gloria J Leeds Hurwitz Wendy eds Socially constructing communication Cresskill NJ Hampton Press pp 99 134 Knoblauch Hubert Wilke Rene 2016 The Common Denominator The Reception and Impact of Berger and Luckmann s The Social Construction of Reality Human Studies 39 1 51 69 doi 10 1007 s10746 016 9387 3 ISSN 0163 8548 S2CID 146905539 Although the phrase social construction had been used by Ward as early as 1905 we will try to show here that the concept only took off after the publication of Berger and Luckmann s book particularly after the publication of an inexpensive paperback edition in 1967 Knoblauch 2016harvnb error no target CITEREFKnoblauch2016 help Berger and Luckmann stressed the role of typification and other constitutional processes like meaning and knowledge only as they state explicitly a difference which has hardly been addressed in the literature because it is knowledge that guides conduct in everyday life 1966 33 The social construction Berger and Luckmann stress is accomplished not by meaning typification or consciousness social reality is rather constructed by processes which are specifically social such as social actions social interactions and institutions Czepczynski Mariusz 2016 Cultural Landscapes of Post Socialist Cities Representation of Powers and Needs London Taylor and Francis p 34 ISBN 978 1 317 15640 6 OCLC 1018167337 Pinch T J 1996 The Social Construction of Technology a Review In Fox Robert ed Technological Change Methods and Themes in the History of Technology Psychology Press pp 17 35 ISBN 978 3 7186 5792 6 van Wesel Maarten 2006 Why we do not always get what we want The power imbalance in the Social Shaping of Technology Thesis S2CID 152555823 Dave Elder Vass 2012 The Reality of Social Construction Cambridge University Press 4 a b Sokal A amp Bricmont J 1999 Fashionable Nonsense Postmodern Intellectuals Abuse of Science New York Picador ISBN 978 0 312 20407 5 CS1 maint multiple names authors list link Bigotti Fabrizio Physiology of the Soul www brepols net Retrieved 6 May 2021 Brickell Chris 1 February 2006 The Sociological Construction of Gender and Sexuality The Sociological Review 54 1 87 113 doi 10 1111 j 1467 954X 2006 00603 x ISSN 0038 0261 S2CID 23558016 Beyond Nature vs Nurture The Scientist Magazine Ridly M 2004 The Agile Gene How Nature Turns on Nurture NY Harper page needed Pinker Steven 2016 The Blank Slate The Modern Denial of Human Nature Penguin Books p 40 ISBN 9781101200322 Slingerland Edward 2008 What Science Offers the Humanities Cambridge University Press ISBN 9781139470360 page needed Barkow J Cosmides L amp Tooby J 1992 The adapted mind Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture Oxford Oxford University Press page needed Sokal Alan D May 1996 A Physicist Experiments With Cultural Studies Lingua Franca Retrieved 3 April 2007 Paul Boghossian Fear of Knowledge Against Relativism and Constructivism Oxford University Press 2006 152pp hb pb ISBN 0 19 928718 X page needed Woolgar Steve Pawluch Dorothy February 1985 Ontological Gerrymandering The Anatomy of Social Problems Explanations Social Problems 32 3 214 227 doi 10 1525 sp 1985 32 3 03a00020 Further reading EditBooks Edit Boghossian P Fear of Knowledge Against Relativism and Constructivism Oxford University Press 2006 Online review Fear of Knowledge Against Relativism and Constructivism Berger P L and Luckmann T The Social Construction of Reality A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge Anchor 1967 ISBN 0 385 05898 5 Best J Images of Issues Typifying Contemporary Social Problems New York Gruyter 1989 Burr V Social Constructionism 2nd ed Routledge 2003 Ellul J Propaganda The Formation of Men s Attitudes Trans Konrad Kellen amp Jean Lerner New York Knopf 1965 New York Random House Vintage 1973 Ernst P 1998 Social Constructivism as a Philosophy of Mathematics Albany New York State University of New York Press Galanes G J amp Leeds Hurwitz W Eds Socially constructing communication Cresskill NJ Hampton Press 2009 Gergen K An Invitation to Social Construction Los Angeles Sage 2015 3d edition first 1999 Glasersfeld E von Radical Constructivism A Way of Knowing and Learning London RoutledgeFalmer 1995 Hacking I The Social Construction of What Cambridge Harvard University Press 1999 ISBN 0 674 81200 X Hibberd F J Unfolding Social Constructionism New York Springer 2005 ISBN 0 387 22974 4 Kukla A Social Constructivism and the Philosophy of Science London Routledge 2000 ISBN 0 415 23419 0 ISBN 978 0 415 23419 1 Lowenthal P amp Muth R Constructivism In E F Provenzo Jr Ed Encyclopedia of the social and cultural foundations of education pp 177 179 Thousand Oaks CA Sage 2008 McNamee S and Gergen K Eds Therapy as Social Construction London Sage 1992 ISBN 0 8039 8303 4 McNamee S and Gergen K Relational Responsibility Resources for Sustainable Dialogue Thousand Oaks California Sage 2005 ISBN 0 7619 1094 8 Penman R Reconstructing communicating Mahwah NJ Lawrence Erlbaum 2000 Poerksen B The Certainty of Uncertainty Dialogues Introducing Constructivism Exeter Imprint Academic 2004 Restivo S and Croissant J Social Constructionism in Science and Technology Studies Handbook of Constructionist Research ed J A Holstein amp J F Gubrium Guilford NY 2008 213 229 ISBN 978 1 59385 305 1 Schmidt S J Histories and Discourses Rewriting Constructivism Exeter Imprint Academic 2007 Searle J The Construction of Social Reality New York Free Press 1995 ISBN 0 02 928045 1 Shotter J Conversational realities Constructing life through language Thousand Oaks CA Sage 1993 Stewart J Zediker K E amp Witteborn S Together Communicating interpersonally A social construction approach 6th ed Los Angeles CA Roxbury 2005 Weinberg D Contemporary Social Constructionism Key Themes Philadelphia PA Temple University Press 2014 Willard C A Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy Chicago University of Chicago Press 1996 ISBN 0 226 89845 8 Wilson D S 2005 Evolutionary Social Constructivism In J Gottshcall and D S Wilson Eds The Literary Animal Evolution and the Nature of Narrative Evanston IL Northwestern University Press ISBN 0 8101 2286 3 Full textArticles Edit Drost Alexander Borders A Narrative Turn Reflections on Concepts Practices and their Communication in Olivier Mentz and Tracey McKay eds Unity in Diversity European Perspectives on Borders and Memories Berlin 2017 pp 14 33 Kitsuse John I Spector Malcolm April 1973 Toward a Sociology of Social Problems Social Conditions Value Judgments and Social Problems Social Problems 20 4 407 419 doi 10 2307 799704 JSTOR 799704 Mallon R Naturalistic Approaches to Social Construction The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Edward N Zalta ed Metzner Szigeth Andreas 2015 Constructions of Environmental Issues in Scientific and Public Discourse Figshare doi 10 6084 m9 figshare 1317394 Cite journal requires journal help Shotter J amp Gergen K J Social construction Knowledge self others and continuing the conversation In S A Deetz Ed Communication Yearbook 17 pp 3 33 Thousand Oaks CA Sage 1994 External links EditLook up social constructionism in Wiktionary the free dictionary Wikiquote has quotations related to Social constructionism Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Social constructionism amp oldid 1061465682, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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