The concept of social construction is introduced by, thinkers, who view ‘society’ as constructed not natural. Human beings have their total control on the machinations of the society and they are responsible of how a society would develop. To understand the social construction concept the knowledge of broader concept of constructivism would be greatly helpful.
Constructivism believes that the knowledge of human beings is attained and acquire through experience and time. It also explains that the gender, race and sexuality are the realities shaped by man and are thus constructed socially. The reality is constructed and not given by some creator or superimposed which is known as Ontological Reality. There is a heated debate about the interpretation of ‘reality’ at every level of society especially at the level of the higher philosophical schools like the constructivists and those who believe ontological approach. Yet this is not the subject matter to be included in this paper. Truth, for a realist is not objective it is related to the understanding of matters by the members of a society. In this way the constructionists near themselves to the theory of ‘Natural Selection’ given by Darwin that the man has developed into the present shape and position not by some predetermined scheme but by virtue of his abilities and mental capabilities that lead him to keep himself fitted to the survival in rivalry with the competitors.
The constructivists consider Darwin as the person who gave the most reliable scheme to explain the human factor in his development and the most reliable source of modern scientific inquiry.Based on the encompassing knowledge of constructivism the concept of social construction is linking itself to the contributory factors as sexuality, gender and race. More specifically to say, that sexuality, race, and gender the factors that are responsible for the construction of a society, as it is seen today. The attitude of society towards sexuality is evident from Focaults these words, “The affirmation of a sexuality that has never been more rigorously subjugated than during the age of the hypocritical, bustling, and responsible bourgeoisie is coupled with the grandiloquence of a discourse purporting to reveal the truth about sex, modify its economy within reality, subvert the law that governs it, and change its future” (p. 296).The development of societies is affected by human behavior, the greatest shaping factor of society. It is the human behavior that compels the human beings to form and develop a society. The behavior of the members of the society keeps them adorable to each other that they live and grow together.
Here some information about various factors involved in the shaping of human behavior are essential. The behavior is controlled by social, cultural, political, philosophical, spiritual, psychological, sexual, physiological, theological, legal, and religious factors involved in the construction of a society. Human sexuality is dependent on the mode of behavioral development of the members of a society and is a contributor to the behavior contrarily as well.The definition of human sexuality is not an easy task as described by Padgug, “In spite of the elaborate discourses and analysis devoted to it, and the continual stress on its centrality to human reality, this modern concept of sexuality remains difficult to define. Dictionaries and encyclopedias refer simply to the division of most species into males and females for purposes of reproduction; beyond that, specifically human sexuality is only described, never defined. What the ideologists of sexuality describe, in fact, are only the supposed phrases. Of its operation: gender; reproduction, the family, and socialization: love and intercourse. To be sure, each of these spheres is thought by them to have its own essence and forms (‘the family’, for example), but together they are take to define the arena in which sexuality operates” (Page 7).
The workings of human sexuality on the change in behavior, ultimately contribute the change in the mode of construction of a society. In this way, human sexuality plays the most important part in shaping the lives of individuals in a society that is reflected in the collective behavior of the society. The human sexuality casts its influence on the shaping of human behavior and thus brings about developments pertaining to historical period, region, and culture therefore it is controlled by laws and conventions as promulgated by a particular society.Laws and conventions guide the members of the society of how to reveal sexual behavior to the other members of the same society or the members of the other societies. Hence the sexual behavior greatly influences the construction of a society.The physiological factor involved in the influence of sexuality is probably could never be controlled by laws as it is associated with the hormonal changes though Rubin might be of the view that, “It is often easier to fall back on the notion of a natural libido subjected to inhumane repression than to reformulate concepts of sexual injustice within a more constructivist framework.
But it is essential that we do so”.The hormones decide the gender and in turn it is the gender that decides the behavior in relation to sexuality of the human beings. It means that the hormonal influence during the fetus stage decides whether the person would be a male or a female. The male and female members of the society are therefore the decision makers about the shape, out look, priorities, and achievements of a given society. In this way sexuality influences the construction of a society. Focalt writes, “…repression operated as a sentence to disappear, but also as an injunction to silence, and affirmation of nonexistence, and, by implication that there was nothing to say aboutThe sexual behavior has its own history. It was prohibited to make sex the way one wanted to in almost every society in the history. This means that law always controls penetration.
It was the law that was to decide who would establish a sexual relationship with a person from among the society.The sexual behavior was never discussed, as would be cause of threat to the social construction process as it is being discussed. The cause of it is that the World War II in conjunction with the industrial revolution originated the need for female members of the society to contribute to the industrial productivity. The men were, on the other hand, required to wage wars. The drag of women into the industry initiated the demands of special treatment of women, as they had to rear children and give birth.They needed extra vacations and flexibility in working hours, which the industrialists were not ready to yield easily.
The gender equality discourse emanated the demands of social incorporation by homosexuals as well. Though the homosexual, who seemed to clinch the demands of privileged treatment by the society at large, could not convince to win equal status to that of women. Though they succeeded, some how, in securing some legal facilities but remained isolated and hated by the fellow members of the society. The social construction concept developed the legal and social status of females considerably. Their contribution to the society is now acknowledged and respected as the part of society that they are not only contributing into it but also rearing children.
The homosexuals while are still struggling more to be recognized as respectable social partners. In fact the concept of social construction has enormously gained importance owing to the debate of sexuality and its role in the social construction.