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Social Constructionist - Essay Example

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Social constructionism is a growing movement in the human sciences and humanities (Berger and Luckman, 1966; Gergen, 1985). It is a fundamentally new and really rather strange nature is, however, easily misunderstood. For, rather than simply proposing yet another new theory within the methodological framework of contemporary academic psychology, its aim is quite different: as Rorty (1989) puts it, by the introduction of whole new 'vocabularies,' whole new ways of talking, its aim is 'to change the subject'; or, as Billig et al (1988) put it, 'to change the agenda of argumentation' (Shotter, 1997)…
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Social Constructionist
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Download file to see previous pages As an approach, it involves looking at the ways social phenomena are created, institutionalised, and made into tradition by humans (Social constructionism, 2006).
Interest in the family of ideas loosely labeled "social constructionist" has burgeoned within recent years, and now spans the full range of the social sciences and humanities. Constructionist scholarship has been devoted to understanding the generation, transformation, and suppression of what we take to be objective knowledge; exploring the literary and rhetorical devices by which meaning is achieved and rendered convincing; illuminating the ideological and valuational freighting of the unremarkable or taken for granted; documenting the implications of world construction for the distribution of power; gaining an appreciation of the processes of relationship from which senses of the real and the good are achieved; understanding the historical roots of various forms of understanding; and exploring the variables in human intelligibility across cultures (Gergen, 1997).
An illustrative example of socia...
iven religion, then, does not show us some hidden aspect of objective reality, but has rather been constructed according to social and historical processes according to human need (Social constructionism, 2006).
Social constructionism can not be considered as an explanatory theory, but rather as an epistemology, in the sense of a philosophy of knowledge. Social constructionism is more about a philosophical, contemplative vision, more than a concrete, applicable theory. No ready-made answers, which is the reason for this exercise in thought (Gergen, 1994).
The concept of 'construct'
Social constructionism emphasises the construction man make of reality. People make stories, ideas and theories to help them deal with reality. Man's knowledge never objectively reflects the external reality. It is always a creation that contains our own experiences, perceptions and values (Gergen, 1994).
The concept 'social'
Social constructionism claims that the constructs man make of the world around him can only be made through interaction with others. Knowledge only exists when it is shared with another person. Constructs are shared stories that enable people to function as a group in a larger whole. Social constructionism emphasises that these constructs are practical; they must be useful in everyday life. That is why man can consider them as agreements made within a community to create a livable environment. The importance of culture and history should be underlined (Gergen, 1994).
Socially constructed reality is seen as a continuing, vibrant process; reality is re-produced by people acting on their interpretations and their knowledge of it. Berger and Luckmann argue that all knowledge, including the most basic, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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