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The End of Social Construction

What Comes Next?

John Hartigan Jr.

These are challenging times for people who think critically about race. The intellectual edifice upon which many scholarly interventions against racist thought and practice have developed over the last few decades is in the process of crumbling. The simple but profound assertion that race is socially constructed is being assailed in a variety of intellectual forums and may soon become untenable as a basis for effectively countering widespread racial perceptions and beliefs.1 Actually, the efficacy of the social constructionist stance, as with most ‘social’ explanations for politically charged and complex problems, has at best maintained only a tenuous hold in the public imagination.2 The challenge, then, is to find a better and more effective means of both objectifying and analyzing racial dynamics. This task begins by assessing why social construction is vulnerable in the first place, by delineating its weak points as an analytical framework, and by questioning the ways it either succeeds or fails in adequately representing and interpreting the nuance and complexity of racial relations.

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The psychology of regions

A Vygotskian perspective

Luk Van Langenhove

the emergence of regions as an entity of governance. It is reasonable to expect that the relationship between regions and people can be enlightened by psychology. But there is still a lot of confusion about what exactly such social construction of a

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The Symbolic Body and the Rhetoric of Power

Laura Verdi

In this article I will discuss the human body, both physical and social, as an instrument of political and aesthetic power and will analyze the processes of its social construction, starting with the notion of Corpus Mysticum Christi as the metaphoric organizational structure of consensus to power. From the Low Middle Ages to the present day, we will observe how the treatment of the body has evolved and how present-day show business and politics make use of charisma, from typically conceived 'concentrated stardom' to a conception of 'diffused stardom'. Both models are given aesthetic significance and rhetorical amplification, thus resulting in images of power and a means of social control. The conclusion of the article examines how power relations are currently being affected in a social environment that is highly influenced by the media and how, no matter which era is being discussed, the existence of the social body still depends on the physical body.

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Unreasonable rage, disobedient dissent

The social construction of student activists and the limits of student engagement

Jessica Gagnon

Abstract

This article explores the limits of student engagement in higher education in the United Kingdom through the social construction of student activists within media discourses. It scrutinises the impact of dominant neoliberal discourses on the notion of student engagement, constructing certain students as legitimately engaged whilst infantilising and criminalising those who participate in protest. Exploring media coverage of and commentary on students engaged in activism, from the 2010 protests against university fee increases and from more recent activism in 2016, the article draws upon Sara Willful Subjects and Imogen Revolting Subjects to examine critically the ways in which some powerful discourses control and limit which activities, practices and voices can be recognised as legitimate forms of student engagement.

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The Role of Naturalness in Ecological Restoration

A Case Study from the Cook County Forest Preserves

Nicole M. Evans and William P. Stewart

the past. Nature and Natural The social construction of nature posits many socially shared meanings for nature ( Bird 1987 ; Demeritt 2002 ; Greider and Garkovich 1994 ), with naturalness being relevant to some of these meanings. Raymond Williams has

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News and the Social Construction of Risky Girls

Alison Fyfe

Early twenty-first century North American journalists often claim that social changes such as women's liberation and civil rights have had a dark side for girls. For supposedly abandoning the safety of their traditional role in the home, girls are disproportionately characterized as being at risk of victimization, while also being increasingly cast as risks to themselves and others. Using mixed-methods content analysis, this article demonstrates that the social construct of risky girls crystallized for Toronto news after the 1997 murder of Reena Virk in British Columbia through a raced, classed, and gendered moral panic over bad girls. Discourses changed from talk of youth violence before the murder to talk of risky girls after it. By conflating victimization with offending, risky girl discourses prioritize risk management over needs. This conflation results in the increased policing and incarceration of girls and youth of color, ultimately reinforcing social inequalities like racism and patriarchy.

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You Must Be Shitting Me

Masculinity and the Displacement of Disgust in Assholes

Maude Riverin

( Arya 2014 , 2017 ; Kendall 2010; Korsmeyer 2004 , 2011 ; Meagher 2003 ; Miller 1998 ), and many have argued that, as a social construction, disgust should be understood in relation to gender ( Grosz 1994 ; Kristeva 1982a , 1982b ; Longhurst

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Is the “new normal” a return to inertia and inequalities?

Harlan Koff, Carmen Maganda, Edith Kauffer, Julia Ros Cuellar, and Citlalli Alhelí González Hernández

embraced discussions on the COVID-19 pandemic from the point of view of the social construction of vulnerability and risk. Our editors’ notes have focused on the relationship between development strategies and the health and economic impacts of the pandemic

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What Makes a Panther a Panther?

Genetics, Human Perceptions, and the Complexity of Species Categorization

Catherine Macdonald and Julia Wester

, attitudes, and beliefs about species and hybrids that will determine future actions ( Stronen and Paquet 2013 ). Issues of species categorization raise questions about the social construction of nature in both senses—in terms of human construction of an

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Moral Thresholds of Outrage

The March for Hrant Dink and New Ways of Mobilization in Turkey

Lorenzo D’Orsi

Dink’s death and with each other. This interrelationality prompts us to look into moral outrage by analyzing the social construction of otherness. In more detail, I will first introduce my theoretical framework and explore the peculiarities of Dink