social constructionism

(noun) The principle or theory that all reality and meaning is subjective and created through dynamic interactions with other individuals and groups.

Example: The meaning of words in a language such as the definitions of sociological terms.

Audio Pronunciation: (so·cial con·struc·tion·ism)

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Usage Notes

  • The theory was developed by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann in The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (1966).
  • The social constructionist perspective advocates that individuals and their differences are created or constructed through social processes (e.g. political, religious, and economic) rather than an innate quality within the individual. Furthermore, the categorization of individuals into group explains more about how society functions than about individuals.
  • Social constructionism is compared and contrasted to essentialism.
  • Essentialist ideas can exist within the framework of social contructionism but social contructionism cannot fit into the framework of essentialism.
  • Also called:
    • constructed reality
    • constructionism
    • constructivism
    • social construction of reality
    • social constructionist perspective
    • social constructivism
  • A (noun) social constructionist studies (adjective) social constructionistic or (adjective) social constructionistical topics (adverb) social constructionistically.

Additional Information:

Related Terms: 

 


Works Consulted

Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Bruce, Steve, and Steven Yearley. 2006. The SAGE Dictionary of Sociology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Collins English Dictionary: Complete and Unabridged. 6th ed. 2003. Glasgow, Scotland: Collins.

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Ferrante, Joan. 2011. Sociology: A Global Perspective. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Ferris, Kerry, and Jill Stein. 2010. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. 2nd ed. New York: Norton.

Giddens, Anthony, and Philip W. Sutton. 2014. Essential Concepts in Sociology. Cambridge: Polity.

Jary, David, and Julia Jary. 2000. Collins Dictionary of Sociology. 3rd ed. Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins.

Kendall, Diane. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Kimmel, Michael S., and Amy Aronson. 2012. Sociology Now. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/).

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O’Leary, Zina. 2007. The Social Science Jargon Buster: the Key Terms You Need to Know. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.

Schaefer, Richard. 2013. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Taylor & Francis. (N.d.) Routledge Handbooks Online. (https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/).

Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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How to Cite the Definition of Social Constructionism

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “social constructionism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved December 12, 2018 (https://sociologydictionary.org/social-constructionism/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

social constructionism. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/social-constructionism/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “social constructionism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed December 12, 2018. https://sociologydictionary.org/social-constructionism/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“social constructionism.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2018. <https://sociologydictionary.org/social-constructionism/>.