Costruzionismo sociale e problemi sociali: origini, modelli, orizzonti

Peter R. Ibarra, Michael Adorjan


This overview of social constructionism begins with a consideration of the influential work of Malcolm Spector and John I. Kitsuse, whose book, Constructing Social Problems, inspired a wide variety of studies addressing how social problems are “constructed.” Ensuing epistemological and methodological controversies are discussed, and three key scholarly works are reviewed for the insights they offer into exemplary analytic practice in a constructionist vein. The exemplars pivot around the notion that “understanding understandings” is essential to executing constructionist analysis and does not entail subscribing to reified conceptions of objective conditions. The chapter concludes by discussing three promising directions for extending the constructionist purview, namely, through the study of (1) cyberspace (including social media) as an emerging but essential venue for the construction of social problems; (2) claims-making in national contexts beyond the Anglo Global North, especially in countries that challenge the liberal democratic assumptions upon which constructionist scholarship usually rests; and (3) a broadened, more quotidian conception of the social spaces and forms through which social problems-related expression is advanced.

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