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Theories of Social Structure

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(Social) Constructionism

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Summary

The Theory of Social Constructionism focuses on social constructs and their role in society. A social construct is an idea that has been created and accepted by people in a society. Social constructs are made by people and only continue to exist as long as people continue to validate them. Illness and money are two commonly tested examples of social constructs.

Key Points

  • (Social) Constructionism
    • Social constructs are made by people, who define what is real
      • Ideas and concepts only exist if people validate them


Examples

Social constructionists believe that all knowledge about the world we live in is based on constructs created by groups of people. All objects are made based on the needs of people to name and define them. Money is a commonly tested social construct. Think about it: the paper in your wallet has no intrinsic value. After all, you can’t eat money. Instead, society and other people have created the idea of money and it’s value. According to social constructionists, money only has value because other people give it value.