About This Chapter
Social Construction & Power - Chapter Summary
By going through these lessons on social construction and power, you can enhance what you know about social construction of socioeconomic difference. You can also review definitions for hegemony and dominant ideology. After completing the chapter, you should feel confident and ready to:
- Explain the connection between social constructionism and symbolic interactionism
- Recall arguments concerning race and ethnicity as a social construct
- Correlate socioeconomic status and health
- Recount changes in gender identity throughout history
- Discuss whether sexuality is innate or socially constructed
- Explain how force can be used to gain power in society
- Discuss how agency and free choice in society impacts culture
- Recall the impact of resistance on cultural movements
Each lesson is concise but informative, and our instructors use helpful illustrations to ensure the concepts are easy to grasp. Major vocabulary words are highlighted in bold for quick reference of important topics. A brief quiz is available for each lesson to see how much you understand social construction and power.
1. Social Constructionism: Definition and Theory
Social constructionism means that our realities are shaped through our experiences and our interactions with others. This lesson explains social constructionism and its connection to symbolic interactionism.
2. Social Construction of Race & Ethnicity
Is race biological? Is ethnicity socially constructed? In this lesson, we'll talk about contemporary theories of race and ethnicity that view these categories as social constructions and not as biological givens, as is commonly assumed.
3. Social Construction of Socioeconomic Difference
How does socioeconomic difference influence how a person lives? This lesson will define the concept of socioeconomic status (SES), provide the characteristics of SES, and show how the metric has evolved from an individual statistic to a social one.
4. Gender Identity as a Social Construct
Gender is an important part of most societies, but many of us misunderstand it. In this lesson, we are going to explore gender as a social construct and see how gender identity has changed throughout history.
5. Social Construction of Sexuality & Sexual Orientation
Are we born with our sexuality and our sexual orientation? In this lesson, we'll talk about the ways that sociologists view sexuality and sexual orientation as potentially more complicated than biological givens.
6. Dominant Ideology: Definition & Examples
Dominant ideologies have a considerable influence on our daily lives, and they can be simple or very complicated. Through this lesson, you will learn how to define a dominant ideology and explore some theories and examples from various societies.
7. Hegemony: Definition & Examples
In this lesson, we will learn about hegemony and its effects. We will begin by defining the term and we will go on to study examples from throughout history and analyze the characteristics of hegemony.
8. Use of Force & Gaining Power in Society
How have groups used force in the past to gain power? This lesson discusses the use of force as a social construct, defines the term, and gives specific examples of how it has been used to gain and hold power.
9. Agency & Free Choice in Society
Do people have the freedom to choose what they do or are they constrained by their society? This lesson looks at the idea of agency and free will, defines both terms, and then examines how society constrains a person's agency and why.
10. Resistance as a Social Construct of Power
Throughout history, people have used different forms of resistance as a means of acquiring power. This lesson discusses what resistance is, how it has been used historically and provides specific examples of its use.
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Other chapters within the UExcel Cultural Diversity: Study Guide & Test Prep course
- Introduction to Culture
- Culture-Related Concepts
- Categories of Social Difference
- Ideologies of Social Difference
- Stratification of Difference in Society
- Direct & Indirect Discrimination
- Theories of Prejudice
- Relations in the Multicultural Society
- Native Americans in the U.S.
- African Americans in the U.S.
- Latin Americans in the U.S.
- Asian, Jewish & Middle Eastern Americans
- Collective Responses to Dominance & Inequality
- Inequality & Key Social Movements
- Dominance & Legislative Processes
- UExcel Cultural Diversity Flashcards