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Lecture 5

ANTA02H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Two-Spirit, Patrilineality, Sexual Identity

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Maggie Cummings

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Lecture 5
What is Social/Biological constructionism?
-kinship is a type of social organization in small scale/non industrial societies
-gender is a heavy topic discussed by social/biological constructionists
-in NA, we often rely on biological constructionist perspective
-Asawagh Arabs
o“Natural, common sense” is rooted in their Islamic worldview; “God’s will”
oBiology is not the absolute truth of everything
-Why do people do the things they do?
oCultural constructionism answers the WHY factor
oA theoretical position that human behaviours are best explained by
products of culturally shaped learning
oBiological determinism gives priority to biological features to explain
human behavior – hormones, genes
oBiological determinist would look at genes, hormones to explain spatial
skills, alcoholism, stress
Ex: males have better spatial skills
oCultural constructionist: why do m/f have diff spatial skills?
Spatial skills are passed on culturally through learning
Parents socialize m/f to be different
Social/cultural constructs
-a way of thinking of knowledge on how particular phenomenon’s are formed
through a particular cultural context
-what is a social/cultural construct
oa concept or practice that is seen from an emic POV
oit is seen as natural, timeless, essential
ohowever, it is a product of a particular cultural context
oex: gender – we see it as natural, but it is culturally constructed
-where do they come from?
ohuman choices that have been piled up overtime; not intentional
-social constructs help create/understand worldview
-social phenomenon’s are then institutionalized and then transformed into
common sense – ex: birth certificates – male or female established and then
-knowledge is then constructed, ongoing, a process made by human beings
Gender as a cultural construct
-gender is used to establish an identity
-how is gender a social construction?
oCA distinguish between sex and gender
oSex refers to biological categories – hormones, genitals, chromosomes
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