I have been inspired by the last few contextual studies lectures concerning the social construction of our lives. The realisation that the world in which we belong is shaped by a continuing legacy of human intervention which is a result of centuries of changing opinions, pressures, powers and dominance has been (and still is) a huge concept to get my head around.
I mean – take the idea that even the fundamental identity of our gender, is socially constructed to mean how we understand it today....It's like – you just have to question then how real that understanding is! So - does my son really like the ‘male activities’ he engages in because I [and his society] has simply taught him to like those things? Is he really who he is – or is he who I have created and shaped based on the fact he happened to be born a biological male? Even if I had brought him up without influencing his gender identity – would that be enough – as soon as he was exposed to the world – gender socialisation is rife!
Then in an epiphany type moment I thought – it’s like the Matrix [great movie with hottie Keanu Reeves in] – a constructed world that is confined to the boundaries created by socialisation.......OK so, the Matrix was of course way more far-fetched – but the concept behind it is actually very real! Everything you see, the way you behave, what you wear, what you like/dislike – it’s all down to social construction......[in the film – the computer constructed the world!] The power of this socialisation process is massive and impacts on the very nature of who you are!
I have been reading about Charles Cooley [looking glass self] – very interesting; the idea that a person's self identity grows out of society's interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others – you shape who you are depending on how others see you! How weird is that???? I mean, I thought I was who I was because I’m me (if you know what I mean) – but according to Cooley, I see myself largely based on how others see me...and this has changed and will continue to change throughout my life! .......dead interesting stuff!
Well that’s my muse for this morning...I was actually in the middle of Brian’s essay when I started to write this- so I’d better get back to that! Am interested to hear what anyone else thinks about this subject.......