The theory of social construction, explained in depth by the University of California, asserts that society places people in groups and favors certain groups over others. The International Encyclopedia states that a social construct is an idea or notion that appears to be obvious to a person who accepts it although it is not reality. Rather, it is an invention of society.
The Encyclopedia of Sociology states that credit for naming this theory goes to Thomas Luckmann, who wrote "The Social Construction of Reality" in 1966. According to Luckmann, society is a product created by humans; it is an objective reality, and man is a social product.
The University of California explains in further detail that a person's societal beliefs defines what is "normal" and what is not. Society defines a person as a "man" or a "woman" based on the genitalia that the person possesses at birth. Society defines the characteristics that a man should have and those that a woman should have. It is society's opinion that men should have more power than women, so this is the way that women and men are taught from birth.
Humans learn society's beliefs from birth, and as a result, they are participants in the social construction theory. This theory also includes race, asserting that race is also used to group and class in society.Learn More
High culture is a term frequently used by academics to refer to a set of cultural products most highly regarded by a society. In this sense the term largely invokes the arts, so examples include those classic works of visual art, music and literature that are most frequently celebrated, taught and studied. However, depending on context, the term also refers to mannerisms or conventions frequently exhibited by social elites.Full Answer >
Folkways are behaviors that are typical in a society. These behaviors typically govern unimportant details of day-to-day life, such as how people should dress or behave. Folkways may include how to dress for a funeral, how to behave while eating or other common social behaviors.Full Answer >
A matrilineal society is a society in which lineage, birthright and social classification are traced through the mother's ancestry rather than the father's, as is common in patriarchal societies. Although there were many ancient matrilineal societies, many of them have since died out.Full Answer >
Cultural norms are behavioral standards that a society adopts as a whole and follows when interacting with one another. They are different according to each culture. Ashley Crossman for About.com explains that Americans value eye contact during conversation, but many Asian cultures consider eye contact to be rude. Cultural norms are further broken down by sociologists into four subcategories, including folkways, mores, taboos and laws.Full Answer >