SOCI 325 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Symbolic Interactionism, Scientific Method, Nominalism

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"if something is a "social construct", that means it can be whatever you want it to be" These interpretations are usually based on a serious misunderstanding of social construction. Humans learn about the world through social interaction. Interactions reinforce the things we agree on, and push us to come to agreement on everything else. This process reinforces norms - how the world ought to be. Over time, shared expectations become so regular that we do not think of them as something we came to agree on. The "meaning" of things is not essential to those things. A popular critique of social construction is that it denies the reality of the world. We often think of the social as somehow less real than the physical or biological. A social construct is real because it has real consequences. It "pushes back" on our attempts to alter it. Sociologists study how social systems are consequential and durable.

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