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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Social Constructionisms

Approaches to the Study of the Human World

ISBN 9781403939999
Publication Date June 2014
Formats Hardcover Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave

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.

Titus Hjelm is a Lecturer in the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London, UK.

1. The World We Make: The Idea of Social Construction
2. The Construction of Everyday Life: The Sociology of Knowledge
3. The Making of the Dark Side of Society: Social Problems as Social Constructions
4. Constructing the Self and the Other: The Perspective of Social Psychology
5. Discourse and Power: Critical Discourse Analysis
6. Constructionisms and Critique
7. Social Constructionisms and the Study of the Human World.


"What does social constructionism mean? It's not a simple question. This readable book explores some of the different meanings the term has, for both its proponents and its critics. Even readers who consider themselves quite familiar with constructionist work are likely to discover new schools of constructionism in social problems, social psychology, and critical theory." - Joel Best, Professor of Sociology & Criminal Justice, University of Delaware, USA"Titus Hjelm's book is an engaging and accessible introduction to some of the most important varieties of social constructionism. Remarkably, it achieves clarity and depth while remaining lively and enjoyable to read." - Dave Elder-Vass, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Loughborough University, UK
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