We often struggle to teach our students what "social construction" actually means. (For the record, I am with Woolgar and Latour for taking out "social" and just saying "construction."). Well, here is a Voxsplainer article by Andrew Prokop explaining the outsized importance of the Iowa caucuses that could serve as a great introduction to undergrads on what we STS-types actually mean by social construction. For my money, it makes the a number of points:
- "Social construction" doesn't mean that something is not real.
- Socially constructed things take other things for granted. These things, while real enough, tend to be also socially constructed and on and on.
- Socially constructed things can be really hard to change (see point 2). They require real long-term work to create cultural change, itself a very unpredictable thing.