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A critical overview of scholarship in social constructionism

Contemporary Social Constructionism

Key Themes

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Darin Weinberg

"Darin Weinberg shows, significantly, that there are varieties of social constructionism and, importantly, that the issue of reality is not as threatening as some have figured it to be. From chapters on constructions of the body and the self to a chapter on the construction of social problems, the scientific and moral sweep of the discussion offers unique insight into the breadth of the approach. Contemporary Social Constructionism is a must read for any and all concerned with the experiential status of the person and society."
Jaber F. Gubrium, University of Missouri

Darin Weinberg provides a detailed, critical overview of the key themes of social constructionism, which explains how phenomena and ways of thinking develop in their social contexts. Weinberg traces the multiple roots of social constructionism, and shows how it has been used, critiqued, and refined within the social and human sciences.

Contemporary Social Constructionism illuminates how constructionist social science developed in relation to positivism, critical and hermeneutic philosophy, and feminism and then goes on to distinguish the concept from postmodernism and deconstructionism. In addition, Weinberg shows how social constructionists have contributed to our understanding of biology, the body, self-knowledge, and social problems.

The result is a contemporary statement of social constructionism that shores up its scientific veracity and demonstrates its analytic power, promise, and influence. The book concludes with a look toward the future of the concept and its use.

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Excerpt

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).

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Reviews

"Weinberg provides a sophisticated and comprehensive outline of the philosophical, epistemological, and historical underpinnings of social constructionism. This book is essential for anyone working in the constructionist paradigm or interested in it more generally—or for anyone setting out to critique it. It should be required reading for any graduate sociology course that takes social constructionism to heart. Contemporary Social Constructionism is the best theoretical/philosophical discussion of constructionism that I have read. Weinberg does an unprecedented service to the discipline."
James Holstein, Marquette University

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Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

1. What is Social Constructionism?
2. The Philosophical Foundations of Social Constructionism
3. Social Constructionism Contra Deconstructionism and Postmodernism
4. Social Constructionism and the Body
5. The Social Construction of Self-Knowledge
6. The Social Construction of Social Problems
7. The Way Forward for Social Constructionism

Notes
References
Index

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About the Author(s)

Darin Weinberg is a Reader in the Department of Sociology at Cambridge University and a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. He authored Of Others Inside: Insanity, Addiction, and Belonging in America (Temple), which won the Melvin Pollner Prize in Ethnomethodology.

Subject Categories

Sociology
Anthropology
Cultural Studies

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