This article adopts a social constructionist perspective that views the environment as a social construction. That is, "environmental problems" are social problems; they are socially constructed claims defined through collective processes. By social construction, I mean that environmental problems are not static. They are not always the product of readily identifiable, visible, or objective conditions (Hannigan, 1995, pp. 32-33; Klandermans, 1992, p. 78; Spector & Kitsuse, 1973, p. 146). That is, groups in a society perceive, identify, and define environmental problems by developing shared meanings and interpretations of the issues. Therefore, a constructionist perspective is concerned with how people assign meanings to their social world (Best, 1989, p. 252; Hannigan, 1995, p. 33).
Thursday, August 26, 2010
A quick definition from a 2000 article by Dorceta Taylor. I think it uses the phrase "social construction" too many times, but it gets the point across in the bit that I've italicized.