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Social Constructionism?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:07 am
by splodge

I'm writing an essay about a case study of a relationship that broke up. I need to give theoretical explanations of why they broke up and the strongest explanation seems to be Social Constructionism.

However, I don't really understand this theory. I've read over my lecture notes again and googled it but it doesn't really make sense to me. I don't get how you can research this, and don't really know where to start in terms of finding research into this.

Could anyone offer a little help?

Re: Social Constructionism?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:35 am
by snail
Unfortunately I haven't studied sociology, so I can't give very much help, but as I understand it, a social construct is something that doesn't really exist apart from in our minds - it's something society has invented in order to structure itself. So, class would be a social construct - it doesn't really exist, it's just a way of categorising people. No one is actually born 'lower class' or 'upper class' in the way that they are born with blue eyes or brown eyes. It's also been suggested that 'race' is another social construct, because genetically someone from Kenya is more different than someone from Zimbabwe than either are from an Irish redhead, yet they would both be said to be the same 'race', while the redhead would be said to be a different race. Whereas, if you followed the strict physical facts, the Kenyan and the redhead should be in one race, and the Zimbabwean in another. This is all very controversial, of course, as these things always are.

So if the couple broke up because of social constructionism, perhaps they split because one of them felt the other one wasn't quite 'good enough', even though everything else was OK? Perhaps one of them spoke well, and the other had an accent? Or perhaps one worked in a manual job and the other in an office? You get the idea. Don't know if that helped or not!

If you get a mo, Splodge, we'd love to hear an update on how things are going with you generally these days. :P

Re: Social Constructionism?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:11 pm
by splodge
Thank you for replying.

And well, they broke up because the woman left the man to be with another woman. So I've basiaclly written something along the lines of, the man having certain gender constructs and gender role norms which explains why he felt hurt after the break-up etc. Does that sound about right?

The thing I'm having trouble with it finding research to back this up. It seems impossible! I'm just having to use general research into other things and then trying to apply it somehow to the case study.

And yeah, I know I haven't been on the site a lot lately. It's changed quite a bit :D

Re: Social Constructionism?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:20 pm
by snail
Hmm, it's difficult as I've never studied this myself.

If the man feels hurt because his partner has left him for a woman, some of that may be down to social constructionism - it's more socially humiliating to be left for a woman than another man, it would be more 'acceptable' if she had left him for another man. However, some of the pain will also be simple grief at his loss.

Depending on how tight your deadline is, if you can wait there may be someone else who knows a bit more about it.

Re: Social Constructionism?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:59 pm
by splodge
Yeah that's what I've gone along the lines of.

Thanks for replying :)