The social constructionist perspective suggests that identities are constructed through language and social relations. Illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of this statements with examples of research studies from this and one other perspective
This essay will consider if the social constructionism perceives identities are constructed through language and social relations by comparing this theory with the psychosocial theory of identity. It will begin with a brief description of both theories and go on to look at some examples of the strengths and weaknesses of the argument to conclude that, although there is plenty of evidence to support the question, the alternative theory has it’s own strong points.
Social constructivism is not proposed by a single theorist and sees identity as not predetermined but an ongoing, flexible process formed through our experiences and observations of social interactions, relationships and everyday experiences. The psychosocial perspective was developed by Erickson with further research by Marcia. It proposes that although identity is subject to change over time, it develops in stages, the most important of which is adolescence. The individual balances a central core identity, drawn from various sources, with social interactions.
One of the main tools used for the construction of identity within the social constructionist perspective is language. Social constructivists study the way individuals use language and ways of thinking (discourses) to identify how identity is constructed while Psychosocial researchers use methods such as semi structured interviews. As language differs across cultures there can be differences in the way identity is constructed. From a Psychosocial perspective, Smith and Bond (1998) found those from countries where individualism is favoured would be more egocentric in replies the Twenty Statement Tests with little social context to their answers. Individuals from cultures where collectivism...
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