Truth is a building: A materialist take on social constructionism

Opponents of social constructionism sometimes make what we could call the argument from intransigence. “There are some truths you cannot just wish away!”.  I agree with the statement but not with the point it is supposed to support.

Because the term “social construction” has acquired so many idealist associations, it helps me as a materialist to think of it as “social production” or just “social building”.

Social construction

Interacting with the material world, we build truths: religious truths or political truths or even scientific truths.  Whether these truths present themselves to us as inescapable or evanescent depends on the materials from which they are made and the labour expended on making them.

I can build a sandcastle at the beach. Or I can go to New York and look at Trump Tower. I can do away with my sandcastle with a gesture.  Give me a hundred years and I will not be able to demolish Trump tower with my bare hands. But Trump Tower is no less a product of human labour than is my sandcastle. It is no more natural, no more an expression of universality.  Although, the people who financed its construction would love for me to think that it is.

Conversely, even the mightiest bastions of revolutionary worker class consciousness are no more an expression of nature than are the siege engines of capitalist ideology. I wish they were. Then victory would be assured.

2 thoughts on “Truth is a building: A materialist take on social constructionism

  1. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you, However I am going through problems with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I cannot join it. Is there anybody getting identical RSS problems? Anyone that knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!

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