Investigating psychology
Investigating psychology

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2 Perspectives: social constructionism

In this section you will use the CHIP resource to explore the social constructionist perspective.

Activity 2

Open the CHIP resource [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] in a new tab in your web browser.

Now go back to the ‘Perspectives’ tab at the top of the CHIP star field. Explore the entry for Social Constructionist and then come back to this activity to answer the following questions:

  1. A social constructionist would suggest that interpretive networks are important for understanding the social world.

a. 

True


b. 

False


The correct answer is a.

Answer

The social worlds that we live in are understood by social constructionists as ‘interpretive networks’. These networks are continually being constructed and reconstructed by individuals, groups and institutions.

  1. Social constructionism is a form of sociological determinism.

a. 

True


b. 

False


The correct answer is b.

Answer

Social constructionism suggests that people make active choices rather than behaving in a way that is determined by social context.

  1. Social constructionism would argue that scientific knowledge is produced through social processes.

a. 

True


b. 

False


The correct answer is a.

Answer

All knowledge is seen as an expression of the social and historical context in which it is produced.

  1. Social constructionists only pay attention to social influences; they deny physiological differences between people.

a. 

True


b. 

False


The correct answer is b.

Answer

Social constructionists do not deny the existence of physiological differences. However, rather than trying to find out a fixed truth about physiology, they instead pay attention to how these differences are made sense of in different societies.

  1. Social constructionism suggests that people’s core sense of identity is reasonably constant.

a. 

True


b. 

False


The correct answer is b.

Answer

Identity is seen as historically and culturally specific, dynamic, and constantly being ‘renegotiated’ through social interaction.

  1. What other perspectives have links to social constructionism?
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Answer

Perspectives that have links to social constructionism include social representations, phenomenological, queer history/theory, and feminist perspectives.

  1. Read the descriptions of the perspectives linked to social constructionism, then summarise each description in no more than 50 words.
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