Essay Sample on Constructionist Theory

Published: 2021-07-01
669 words
3 pages
6 min to read
Wesleyan University
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Constructionist refers to the process through which knowledge are able to be stored in some memory and later on be retrieved when there is need for modification. Constructivism can either be rational, radical or dialectical. The principles of constructivism may include but not limited to; the process takes time to be understood, in this theory people learn so that they can learn as they learn and the most important action in constructing is mental. Noteworthy, the process of learning is believed to be a social activity and it is contextual. Constructionist theories are mostly concerned with the achievement of better understanding of the process through which people categorize and define given behaviors as either normal behavior of deviant behavior(Fosnot, 2005).

The theory of social constructionist by Groth is used to explain the aspects of sexuality in prison. According to Groth sexuality does not only refer to a persons inherent part but also a persons construct of the society. Groth goes on to argue that it is not accurate to classify a prisoners type of sexuality as homosexual or heterosexual especially when one is still in prison. This is because the prisoners sexuality is normally assumed to be on hold when in prison since during that time most prisoners tend to act mostly on their personal needs and not on their interpersonal needs as it should be. However, Groths argument cannot fully conclude that his point of argument is the only reason behind prisoners relationships since some prisoners also are in genuine relationships(Burr, 2003).

Graham Sykes in 1958 created a model called deprivation model in which he explained how heterosexual prisoners struggle everyday with deprivation and end up creating a subculture while in prison. Normally, prisoners are deprived many needs and desires especially the sexual needs and because of this most prisoners end up be involved in sun standard types of sex like coerced or consensual sexual activities. In 1962, two other scholars John Irwin and Donald Cressey together created a model called importation model. Through this model, prisoners created some unique cultures while in prison which were mainly based on those values from the outside world. The social constructionist theory or model is composed of both social situations and social values(Burr, 2003).

The efforts to help indigenous minority prisoners has over time shifted from what use to be assimilation to embracing the self determination principles. The era of self determination is believed to be a liberal space of fantasy which in most cases is hard to attain. Prisoners should be allowed to be able to control their personal efforts in order to improve their lives which in the process would make the intervention of the state redundant. Some scholars have explored the complexity of anti racist subjectivities during the era of self determination especially in prisons. The concept of stigma specially prisoners stigmatization is the best approach in understanding the prisoners desires of self effacement(Lock et al, 2010). In most cases the negative characteristics always associated with minority prisoners acting as a barrier to the bigger goal of ethical subjectivities construction fits the aspect of the liberal space of fantasy of prisoners justice.

The principle of relativism refers to a situation whereby people view the aspect of moral truth as being relative to the cultural norms thats ones culture follows. The possible antagonism that exists between the reality and ontological precommitments especially in addressing the issue of minority in prison is illustrated through dialogal understanding of the real connection that exist between empirical relationality and ontology. In clarification of phenomenology growth of especially ontology is by clear understanding of the most important aspect of rationality(Zan et al, 2001).


Burr, Vivien, (2003). Social Constructionism. Abingdon-on-Thames, London, United Kingdom: Routledge Publishers.

Fosnot, Catherine, Twomey, (2005). Constructivism: Theory, Perspectives and Practice. New York, U.S.A: Teachers College Press.

Lock, Andy & Strong, Tom, (2010). Social Constructionism: Sources and Stirrings in Theory and Practice. Cambridge, U.K: Cambridge University Press.

Zan, Betty et al, (2001). Developing Constructivist Early Childhood. New York City, US.A: Teachers College Press Publishers.

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