Social constructionism

Social constructionism is a theory of knowledge in sociology and communication theory that examines the development of jointly constructed understandings of the world that form the basis for shared assumptions about reality. The theory centers on the notion that meanings are developed in coordination with others rather than separately within each individual.[1]

Social constructs can be different based on the society and the events surrounding the time period in which they exist.[2] An example of a social construct is money or the concept of currency, as people in society have agreed to give it importance/value.[2][3] Another example of a social construction—however controversial and hotly debated—is the concept of self/self-identity.[4] Charles Cooley expressed his looking-glass self theory by the assertion, "I am not who you think I am; I am not who I think I am; I am who I think you think I am."[2] This articulates the view that people in society construct ideas or concepts that may not exist without the existence of people or language to validate those concepts.[2][5]

There are weak and strong social constructs.[3] Weak social constructs rely on brute facts (which are fundamental facts that are difficult to explain or understand, such as quarks) or institutional facts (which are formed from social conventions).[2][3] Strong social constructs rely on the human perspective and knowledge that does not just exist, but is rather constructed by society.[2]