General Question

flo's avatar

Is the term "construct" about negative things, and if so, why? See detail.

Asked by flo (13158points) 1 month ago

Is everything man made “construct”? What are the examples of things that are labelled as “constructs”? Is it a liberal or conservative thing?

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5 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

The Matrix. A completely inescapable prison.

canidmajor's avatar

The word “construct”, whether used as a noun or a verb, is mood neutral. The context of the usage indicates whether it is positive or negative, or has any political implications.

Demosthenes's avatar

Well, “construct” and especially “social construct” are usually used with somewhat negative connotations to describe things that have social meaning but are ultimately created by society and are not innate, biological, or immutable.

Cupcake's avatar

Constructs are how we derive meaning through our social interactions and interpretations. Constructs can be “positive”, “negative” and “neutral”. A “negative” construct might be something like crime. We socially believe that there is such thing as crime. We believe this in order to promote a set of behaviors that do not include harming property or people. We also believe in a construct of “punishment” or “rehabilitation”, and have built a criminal justice system around these constructs. The “positive” side of this could be a construct of “good people” or “lawfulness” or “morals” or “values” that prevent or prohibit people from engaging in “crime”.

We generally don’t see constructs because they are engrained in our beliefs from a very young age. Little kids talk about “bad guys” and “good guys”, etc. This is all socially learned and engrained. There is nothing inherent about humans that requires these beliefs. We may come to identify and acknowledge the constructs within our culture though learning about other cultures or societies that do not subscribe to these constructs. One of the potential benefits of higher education may be that we address the development of culture, society, and social constructs.

Social constructs are different from “science” (although that could be a social construct, another discussion) and “truth” or “facts”. For example, we have genetics and genitals. From here (at least from our current understanding of the science), we developed sexes: male and female. From here, we went on to further develop a set of beliefs about “males” and “females” (e.g., males are strong and logical; females are nurturing and emotional). These beliefs are social constructs. What we believe about “males” or “females” in the US (or even here in the Southeast US) can be different from what people in another part of the world (or country) believe about “males” or “females”. This is also true in the earlier example about “crime”. Something that is a crime in the US may not be a crime elsewhere, and vice versa.

There is a movement to bring our social constructs more to the forefront of our awareness and critique them. I think that is where you are going with your “negative” interpretation of constructs. Many of our beliefs are overly rigid and deserve examination as we socially develop and progress as a people, society, and culture.

flo's avatar

Thanks all, I’m still rereading your answers.

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