Over the past few decades, we’ve gone from the belief that much of human behavior is determined by biology to the idea that humans begin as a blank slate and their behavior is largely learned, not predetermined.
It’s called a “social construction of reality,” this idea that we are who we are and think/believe like we do because we’ve been molded by outside forces and social/cultural norms, that these forces then determined our reality, who we become.
One example would be going from the idea that chromosomes determine gender, XX or XY, to the idea that gender is something imposed and taught from the outside: girls and boys act the way they do because they have been taught to act like and/or have been treated like girls or boys.
Except the idea has been pushed so far, the narrative has seemingly gone beyond social construction to post social construction.
Take the gender debate, for example. It’s gone from something that one is born, to something one is taught, to now something one chooses themselves, independently of biology or cultural forces.
This would mean gender is not a biological or social construct, but a self construct.
This shift dovetails into the also increasingly popular idea that each person is as unique as a snowflake, rather than the previously held ones that people are who they are due to genetics, or then culture.
However, logically the progression is an unstable one. In the first two models, it is not an individual choice — it’s either predetermined biologically (XX or XY) or predetermined by culture and those around you. To jump from that to its something that is decided at some point along the way by the individual themself (and could change at any time) is a radical departure from the two previous models.
And yet it’s being presented as a natural progression of, even another shade of, social construction.
I am not sure how or when that happened, but I suspect there’s little science but lots of emotion backing the view.
This is one obvious example of the rapidly shifting Overton Window of our time, but certainly not the only one. I find it interesting how it seemingly slipped in, unannounced, on the tails of social constructionalim.
What do you think? Are we now living in a post social construction world? And if so, when and how did that happen and what does that mean?
Are we born who we are, taught who we are, or choose who we are? Perhaps some combination of the three?
Please feel free to muse on the idea in the comments!