Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Constructivism is a theory according to which social phenomena are constructed through interactions among humans, who interpret one another's actions and define situations based on those interpretations. Thus, constructivism offers a way of studying social phenomena, which people tend to treat as though they were objective entities. However, from the viewpoint of constructivism, what people believe to be objective entities are actually accomplished through interactions between human actors who interpret those phenomena within specific social and historical contexts. Constructivism is not a theory composed of a series of hypotheses but a perspective that studies discourse in order to analyze phenomena. This perspective gained prominence following the publication in 1966 of Peter Berger's and Thomas Luckmann's The Social Construction of Reality . Since then it has become widely influential throughout the social and human sciences. For example, in anthropology and sociology, there were the debates between “essentialism” and “constructivism” concerning sex, ...