Social Construction Theory

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Though policy making in our society is greatly influenced by a number of actors across a variety of system levels, it is also entrenched with social constructions of various groups in our country. Social constructions, in short, are our perceptions of a target group created out of our social, political, and cultural interactions and experiences of the group in question. Instead of solely focusing on “how” policy forms and the changes, Social Construction Theory (SCT) seeks to explain how social constructions of certain population groups influence the relationship of the very public policies that affect them. Policymakers use these constructions to make superficial judgements about a group leading them to continually establish policies upholding…show more content…
This ongoing cycle of burdening or benefitting groups influences their outcomes of authority and their political agenda. Both Social Construction Theory and Policy Feedback Theory (PFT) take these policy patterns and point out how they consistently shape policymaking. While SCT describes the relationship of policy dynamics and target populations, PFT describes how past policy decisions directly reshape how politics now affect target groups (Mettler & Sorelle, 2014). It is more difficult for a group with little power and a bad reputation to enact political change in our system because the system perpetuates their disfranchisement. Past policies influence the environment in which new policies are created. One example of policy feedback in our history is the unintended impacts the G.I bill had for World War II veterans. WWII veterans who benefited from the G.I. bill’s educational opportunity were more likely to be involved in civic affairs in the long run (Mettler, 2002). In rewarding a veterans group with greater access to higher education, they consequently participated in more civic affairs, leading to the future social and political landscape to be altered (Mettler, 2002). Other groups such as African Americans and LGBTs continue to be both trapped and influenced by their respective social constructions and policy…show more content…
This is one of the main concerns of our policy project on women and access to health care. Policies about women’s health care continue to burden women, often perpetuating a negative social construction of them. Some of the policy decisions today in regards to women’s health care access surrounding sexual assault cases and emergency contraceptive limit them, perpetuating the idea that women are to blame women for such occurrences. Much can be said about women’s social construction in our society by the fact that we as a nation are still fighting to expand women’s reproductive rights in a way that aids them instead of punishing them. Such is the case with the Senate Bill 1407 and House Bill 707, companion bills which require the development of a standard information form for sexual assault survivors, including information on emergency contraception. The fact that bills such as SB 1407 and HB 707 are still causing some backlash and resistance from the political community suggests that negative social constructs about women’s sexual health are still alive and
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