The purpose of this work is to describe, analyse and understand what an anthropological understanding of social construction is and how it works. In order to do this, I’ll start by giving a general explanation of what a social construct is, after that I’ll bring three different concepts which I understand as social constructions. Specifically the three concepts will be gender, death and language using. To explain gender “Rites of Manhood: Sambia” (1990 ) by David Gilmore. In discussing death as a social construction I’ll be using “Mother’s Love: Death without Weeping” in “Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology”(2012) by Nancy Scheper Hughes. In engaging with language as social construction I’ll be using “Without saying” (1998) by Maurice Bloch , “Small Places, Large Issues – An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology-third edition” (2010) by Thomas Hyllan Eriksen and “Elementi di antropologia culturale” (2010) by Ugo Fabietti will be quoted (and translated in Fabietti’s case) throughout the whole text. To give a deeper understanding of what social construction is I’ll be engaging the issues of agency and dynamicity.
WHAT’S A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT?
By social construct we define all those things that exist only because their existence is socially accepted and therefore perceived by people and only because of this acceptance they become something that is considered real and that has influence on people’s life.
Social constructions are part of a subjective reality, they are existing because the majority of us has agreed on the fact that a particular symbol, mechanism or social intercourse is carrier of a well defined signification on which, as I already said the majority of us is aware of and has somehow agreed upon. It must be noted that social constructions are not static objects, since they are strictly related to societies and societies are in a continuous
Bibliography: * Eriksen, Hylland Thomas. 2010. Small Places Large Issues: an introduction to social and cultural anthropology. London: Pluto press * Fabietti Ugo. 2010. Elementi di antropologia culturale. Milano: Mondadori Università * Gilmore, David. 1990 . Rites of Manhood: Sambia. PDF: 146-168 * Sheper Hughes, Nanci. 2012. Mother’s Love: Death without Weeping, http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~jdowd/scheper-hughes%20-%20death%20without%20weeping.pdf * Bloch, Maurice. 1998. What goes without saying. The conceptualization of Zafimaniry society in Models of society the individual and nature, chapter 6. PDF