What Is Social Construction Theory?

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The theory of social construction, explained in depth by the University of California, asserts that society places people in groups and favors certain groups over others. The International Encyclopedia states that a social construct is an idea or notion that appears to be obvious to a person who accepts it although it is not reality. Rather, it is an invention of society.

The Encyclopedia of Sociology states that credit for naming this theory goes to Thomas Luckmann, who wrote “The Social Construction of Reality” in 1966. According to Luckmann, society is a product created by humans; it is an objective reality, and man is a social product.

The University of California explains in further detail that a person’s societal beliefs defines what is “normal” and what is not. Society defines a person as a “man” or a “woman” based on the genitalia that the person possesses at birth. Society defines the characteristics that a man should have and those that a woman should have. It is society’s opinion that men should have more power than women, so this is the way that women and men are taught from birth.

Humans learn society’s beliefs from birth, and as a result, they are participants in the social construction theory. This theory also includes race, asserting that race is also used to group and class in society.