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109 Examples of Social Constructs

 , May 24, 2023
Social constructs are concepts that are recognized in a language that don't directly correspond to concrete realities. For example, an apple isn't a social construct because it has a specific physical manifestation but freedom is a social construct because it has no specific tangible presence. The following are common examples of social constructs followed by a few counterexamples and grey areas.
Archetypes
Art
Authority
Beauty
Bias
Borders
Brands
Capitalism
Cities
Citizenship
Civility
Class
Coolness
Creativity
Culture
Customs
Democracy
Education
Equality
Fame
Family
Fashion
Fiction
Fictional characters
Film
Freedom
Friendship
Games
Gender
Government
Hierarchies
Institutions
Intelligence
Jobs
Justice
Knowledge
Language
Leadership
Love
Marriage
Monarchy
Money
Morality
Nationality
Nations
Parenting
Patriotism
Peace
Politeness
Politics
Privacy
Respect
Rights
Safety
Social expectations
Social norms
Social roles
Social status
Society
Sports
Stereotypes
Success
Symbolism
Technology
Trends
Tribalism
Trust
Truth
Work

Counterexamples

The following things aren't socially constructed.
Acceleration
Aging
Air
Climate
DNA
Day and night
Disease
Energy
Gravity
Height
Individual beliefs
Individual creative expressions
Individual emotions and mood
Individual perceptions
Individual thoughts that differ from social constructs
Inner consciousness
Intuition
Length
Light
Material strength
Materials
Math
Measurable physical phenomena
Measurable physical things
Oceans
People
Philosophy
Physical sense and sensation
Science
Self-awareness
Speed
Subjective experiences
Temperature
The Universe
The human brain
Things that are intrinsic to an individual such as personality
Time
Trees
Weather
Weight / Mass
Math and science are considered to have objective foundations such that they aren't based on social constructs.
Philosophy generally seeks objective foundations and isn't socially constructed.
Individual thoughts aren't necessarily social constructs but we all think with language and visual symbols that are social constructed so that our thoughts are inherently rooted in social constructs.

Grey Areas

You could argue that social constructs represent concepts that inherently exist. For example, you could argue that freedom is an inherent state that wasn't invented by society. Alternatively, it is argued that social constructs are simply invented and do not exist in any objective sense. Generally speaking, things that can be explained by philosophy probably aren't social constructs.
Another grey area arises where social constructs have a close relationship with physical realities. For example, a city is a social construct that closely relates to the built environment and people at a place. However, the borders of the city may differ greatly from the expanses of urbanization in an area.

Rule of the Hammer

It is not always clear what is a social construct. For example, you could argue that time is a physical aspect of the universe that is fully measurable. Nevertheless, it is common to claim that it is a social construct. As a rule of thumb, postmodern social sciences tend to view many things as a social construct that hard sciences view as physical realities. This may be due to the law of the hammer whereby social sciences tend to explain everything using social sciences even if there is a more realistic explanation elsewhere.

Social Constructs are Realities

Although social constructs are intangible concepts they are the basis for real world physical realities. For example, "army" is a social construct but you want to get in the way of an army.
It would be naive to think that social constructs are imaginary, easily changed or idealistic. Most of the things that people value and preserve over the distances of time are social constructs. For example, family, nation and wealth are largely social constructs.
Next read: Characteristics of Postmodernism
More about social constructs:
Anomie
Civility
Civilization
Conflict Theory
Cultural Behavior
Cultural Norms
Culture
Examples of Facts
Human Behavior
Interactionism
Norms
Postmodernism
Social Analysis
Social Constructs
Social Constructs II
Social Fact
Social Imagination
Social Reality
Social Values
Society
Super Culture
Traditions
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