This article has multiple issues. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. Some supporters of this theory argue socially responsible leadership scale pdf the differences in behavior between men and women are entirely social conventions, whereas others believe that behavior is influenced by universal biological factors to varying degrees, with social conventions having a major effect on gendered behavior. The focus on power and hierarchy reveals inspiration stemming from a Marxist framework, utilized for instance by materialist feminism, and Foucault’s writings on discourse.
Social constructionism focuses on how meaning is created. Thus, social constructionism focuses on how meaning is created. Popp, knowledge is an “account of reality produced collaboratively by a community of knowers”. This focus results in showing how individuals differ in status, entitlement, efficacy, self-respect and other traits based on the kind of interactions one is involved in and subjected to.
Ultimately, language has a huge influence on how humans perceive reality and, as a result, is the creator of this reality. Social constructionists emphasize the complexity of how knowledge is created in social interactions. People are active in their perception, understanding and sharing of knowledge acquired from their social milieu. It is prudent therefore to consider this process when explaining the social construction of knowledge, including knowledge concerning gender. Social constructionists question the Western idea of an autonomous individual who can draw a clear line between the self and the society. According to social constructionism, individuals can create meaning only in relation to what they are exposed to in their environment.
Paradoxically, the same individuals co-create the meanings that are available in this environment. This means that some of these theories assume a clear biological division between women and men when considering the social creation of masculinity and femininity, while other contest the assumption of the biological division between the sexes as independent of social construction. Moreover, gender was considered achieved and more or less stable after it is acquired in early childhood. These “gender activities” constitute our belonging to a sex as based on the socially accepted dichotomy of “women” and “men”.
Doing gender” is in fact based on these interactions that are constituted of ongoing assessments in various situations. This in turn points to the situational nature of gender rather than its inherent, essentialist and individual nature. West and Zimmerman argue that the notion of womanhood or femininity is accomplished through an active process of creating gender through interacting with others in a particular social context. Society typically only recognizes two genders. One woman had a relatively normal early childhood but around adolescence questioned her sexuality and remained stable in her gender and sexual identity until she started working with men and assumed a masculine “stance” and started to question her gender identity.
When ‘she’ became a ‘he’ he began to find men attractive and gradually identified as homosexual as a man. The perception of sexuality by others is an extension of others’ perceptions of one’s gender. Heterosexuality is assumed for those individuals who appear to act appropriately masculine or appropriately feminine. The sense of one’s gender identity is acquired through the internalization of external knowledge.
Gender is part of an identity woven from a complex and specific social whole, and requiring very specific and local readings”. Thus, gender identity can be defined as part of socially situated understanding of gender. Turning the scope of gender from a social consensus to objectivity to one’s self-identification with a certain gender expression leaves much more space for describing variation among individuals. The way gender is constructed for an individual depends on gendered interactions the individual has with others as well as other identities or roles he or she may have. Gender, race, class, and other oppressions are all potential omnirelevant categories, though they are not ALL identically salient in every set of social relationships in which inequality is done. Multiple oppressions are not seen as having “additive” or “multiplicative” effects but are seen as simultaneously depending on each other to create a unique form of oppression.
While men and women are held accountable for normative conceptions of gender, this accountability can differ in content based on ethnicity, race, age, class, etc. Some women of color are subordinated through rejection, or denial of the “patriarchal invitation to privilege”. Gender is an accomplishment : “the activity of managing situated conduct in light of normative conceptions of attitudes and activities appropriate for one’s sex category”. The performance of gender varies given the context: time, space, social interaction, etc.
The sociology of knowledge must first of all concern itself with what people “know” as “reality” in their everyday, non- or pre-theoretical lives. In other words, individual perceptions of “”knowledge” or realitymust be the central focus. These performances normalize the essentialism of sex categories. The idea that men and women are essentially different is what makes men and women behave in ways that appear essentially different. Institutions also create normative conceptions of gender. They are aware that others may evaluate and characterize their behavior. Social constructionism asserts that gender is a category that people evaluate as omnirelevant to social life.