Social Constructionisms: Approaches to the Study of the Human World

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Social constructionism is one of the key ideas in the social sciences, offering different frameworks for understanding the human world. But what does it mean when we say that something is 'socially constructed'? What exactly do we construct in our social interaction? And what actually 'does' the constructing? This dynamic text invites critical reflection on these questions and more, outlining the various ways that social constructionist theory has been utilised in the social sciences. Hjelm introduces the basic assumptions of social constructionism - before examining the differences between various constructionist traditions and perspectives - from Berger and Luckmann's sociology of knowledge, to constructionist approaches in social psychology and discourse analysis. Through a diverse range of case studies on religion, crime, gender and the media, the chapters demonstrate how to apply constructionist ideas in empirical social research. Social Constructionisms is thus an invaluable source for students and scholars across the social sciences.