Critical Constructionist Theory in the Human Sciences
Edited By Jennifer Sarah Cooper
In these crooked times of chaotic and contradictory discourses in every social sphere, from politics to food production, "ideology" has become the buzzword to represent some solid structure on which to cling or under which to recoil, in an effort to understand reality. But how this structure is built and what it ultimately upholds – this is a primary focus of the Human Sciences. In this book, the author argues that in the Human Sciences, from its founders to contemporaries, a common premise is apparent: the fundamental property of all human-social reality is its character as something constructed. Through a vast set of analyses and reflections of his own, and by philosophers, psychologists, psychoanalysts, sociologists, anthropologists, neuroscientists and linguists, the author shows how this premise, applied, which he coins as critical constructionist theory, constitutes the fundamental theory of the Human Sciences. The book also traces how the main development of this theory gave rise to critical deconstructionism – philosophical, sociological, and anthropological – as an analytical procedure in contemporary studies and research, valid in discussions on culture, ethics, human rights, gender, sexuality and ethnicities. Understanding the role ideology plays in this construction, then, is key to liberation from oppressive conceptual structures of reality. This book exposes that role.
Chapter 2: The Construction of Social Reality
The Construction of Social Reality
The form is fluid, but the “meaning” is even more so.
— Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals
Meaning is not constituted except through structures of coercion of the signified.
— Michel Foucault, What is Critique?
… to say that a society functions is a truism, but to say that everything
in a society functions is an absurdity.
— Claude Lévi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology
There will always be a distance between society as instituting and what is, at every moment, instituted – and this distance is not something negative or deficient; it is one of the expressions of the creative nature of history, what prevents it from fixing itself once and for all into the “finally found form” of social relations and of human activities, what makes a society always contain more than what it presents. To wish to abolish this distance, in one way or another, is not to leap from prehistory to history or from necessity to freedom, it is to wish to leap into the immediate absolute, that is to say into nothingness.
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