How social constructionism works?
Social constructionism starts by exploring the assumptions associated with the naming or labeling of things. Labeling can provide a useful understanding of social problems and how they are created. Social problems surface if society labels certain behavior or individuals as problematic. Becker argues there is no such thing as a deviant act or a social problem and it only becomes a problem when people define it and perceive it in this way. Clarke and Cochrane, stated that how we name things affects how we behave towards them and the name or label carries with it expectations. So, by using negative language to describe a particular group, it is enforcing the social problem not hindering it. Labeling can isolate specific groups and separate them from the rest of society. For instance, the media presents negative characteristics of homeless people by providing the view that the majority are mentally ill and/or substance users. This highlights that social construction is a useful way of understanding social problems. Media plays a large role in stigmatizing certain groups as a lot of people rely on media to receive information about what is occurring in the world. This is supported by Ball-Rokeach who stated that people have an increased dependence on the media for discovering what is happening in the world around them. The media would seemingly be an excellent position to initiate social change and break down social problems, Yet, the media has failed to do so, It has served to reinforce social problems by the language it chooses to use. In terms of describing individuals with disabilities, the language used in the media is mostly negative such as seeing them as “incapable”, “pitiable or pathetic” and “a burden”. Therefore, media in relation to labeling is seen to be a useful way of understanding social problems and can explain the development of relevant policies as they depend on how the social problem is constructed.