Thursday, March 29, 2012

Social Construction

Social Constructivism-

In fifth grade my teacher, Mr. Erickson, was instructing us about the food chain. He told us it is necessary for one species to kill another as a means of survival, it is the "natural order" of things. He made his way from the bottom to the top in as much detail as possible. Insects seemed to be at the bottom, while animals such as the tiger were at the top. Then, after making his way to the top he drew a figure of a human being at the upper right hand side of the food chain. He then made a statement which had a profound impact on me. He said, "human beings are not necessarily part of the food chain, but exist outside of it because of our ability to think." Is it possible that we inhabit the Earth, along with everything else, yet exist independently? How could this be?

According to our book, social constructivism is, “the theory that individuals actively construct knowledge and ideas about reality and themselves through social processes and experiences” (Marsiglia & Kulis, 2009, p. 85). Human beings congregate and socially construct language, and then give names to objects in the phenomenal world. Human consciousness divides the world by discrimination through language. We are then deceived by our mental "constructs", and believe there is inherent separation. In fact, we are not separate from the world, we are a part of it. We could not survive, and would not exist, were it not for everything else. Without the sun, rain, farmers, workers, and grocery stores we would not have food to eat that creates our bodies. This is also the case with mental conception. How would I know what to write if language didn't exist prior to me writing?

President Obama could not be president if there were no people to preside over. I could not be a student in Diversity and Inequality without any instructor. Both the teacher and student, or president and citizen, are dependent on one another for their identity; they are interdependent and part of a whole. However, because we are human beings with the ability to conceptualize, we differentiate the teacher from the student, overlooking these are fleeting identities which have no inherent existence. This is not theory, but reality prior to conception. We are given identities because society agrees on their meaning through social constructivism. Would you consider yourself a pedestrian when sitting in a classroom? Eggs could not exist without the hen. Rain could not exist without the clouds. There isn't a place we can gaze where interdependence doesn't exist. We are the sum total of all experience, mind and body.


Marsiglia, F. F., & Kulis, S. (2009). Diversity, oppression, and change. (p. 85). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books,


Posted by BEAU.


  1. I agree that humans can't exsist without the world and everything in it. i do not think we exsist outside of the animals. We all need everything on this planet to survive. Yes we can think, and do more than animals because we grew out of that survival mentality. However, we are not higher then anything else. Without this planet we would not be alive, without the sun our food supply would die off, and we would eventually parish. Without certain animals to eat other animals we would be in danger of disease, etc. We go and place certain people higher than others based on status, profession, wealth, gender, race, and sexual orientation when in all reality no one is higher than anyone else. Everyone has their individual problems that can be realted to another person's problems as well. We may think we are better and special compared to everything else, but we arn't. We need everything else just as it needs us to get by.
    Kelsey Thompson swk 280

  2. That was a really good way to put it Beau. Everything/everyone is connected, yet our developed "consciousness" has caused us to construct our reality and use it to separate from one another in order to attain power and/or feed the ego. I look at everything we have socially constructed--consumerism, entertainment, racism, etc. and see that people turn a blind eye to the impact they are really creating in the world, unaware of the fact that everything on this planet relies on one another. It is a domino effect. If there were no sun, no plants, no animals. We would die. Our ability for language and ability to create can be used for the greater good or to cover up the fact that we are interconnected and serve only a few. We need to be aware that there is consciousness, but moreover we have higher consciousness too---that is the part that can put what we've separated back together in one.


  3. Just like Kelsey I too agree that humans cannot exist without the world and the many unique things that comes with it. We are all born to become something or someone. We may not understand or see how we are all linked but togther we all know that because of the things on Earth we are able to survive. We are at the top of the food chain not because we eat one another but because we also help assist in making the world go on. We are part of the evolution. We change within time to survive and adapt to our surroundings just like animals and many other living things.
    Not everyone will be the same and that is how we have all these class status, roles, gender, race etc...
    We are changing and adapting, having the need to need each other to survive and learn.

  4. Beau, I agree with what you said as well as the others that humans cannot exist independently. Its crazy the things we remember our grade school teachers saying. I think the idea that we exist dependently interconnecting with all other animals can easily be related over to the fact that we coexist with all other people of all walks of life and all rungs on society's hierarchical ladder that has been constructed relating to race and many other variables. In this day in age many humans would not survive incredibly long if everyone producing and distributing the food at the local grocer were to disappear. While especially in Western individualistic society we chose to separate ourselves from others at times, we can never escape (and should learn to embrace) the fact that in the end we will always coexist and be interdependent.
    -Emerson Ball

  5. Beau, I like how you give your own definition of Social Constructivism and explain what it means to you. In SWK 280 I didn't fully understand the definition of it until you explain what you think it means. You give an good example of comparing food chain to humans. Nice Job.
    Chxong Xiong- SWK280

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  7. Beau,

    This was great read, I really like how you started with the story from grade school. It really shows how we can relate these concepts to personal experience. I also agree with what others have said, we as the human race depend on the resources around us. Those resources are developed around the world, and whether we accept it or not we need each other to survive. Great job Beau.


  8. I really enjoyed reading this entry. The personal story at the beginning was a great start and made me want to read more. It shows me that what we learn in class is not useless but that it does flow into our lives. I think that humans like to think that they can be very independent and very much culture A. Sometimes we forget that our main essentials come from the sun, plants, animals, etc. This entry really laid it all out clearly and I could understand the book meaning and your own personal meaning very well!

    It was a great read!


  9. Dude! very nice blog! i like how you explained the whole teacher and student existence piece. very nicely done. The way you explained it was so clear that i kind of think you should teach. The story in the beginning was a great way to start it off. it really drew me in and made me want to read the rest. The Marsiglia and Kulis reference was very well executed. just a great blog post! i liked it! keep writing more.

  10. Great job Beau I agree with you on this. Yes everything and everyone is connected and by running after power and egos we have separated from one another. We may believe that we are smarter then animals but in reality we have became worst then animals. We kill each other in the name of power, God and sometimes for nothing. Our actions show that we indeed are stupid when compared to the animals. Overall Beau I really enjoyed your blog.