Thesis: Social Construction vs. Essentialism

Sample Thesis Paper

Social Construction is a philosophy within which any concept may be created as a result of knowledge and language which is shared between different individuals who are part of a society (Gergen). While Essentialism is a philosophy which allows for the description of any phenomenon, this is done according to the characteristics or property of the thing being considered (Moore). It is through the definition of these traits and characteristics that all the phenomena in the world can be precisely defined. In essentialism there are certain universal properties which are shared between certain object, which despite any additional properties, allows them to be identified as that very object.

An example of essentialism may be considered by taking the example of trees. Whether trees are off a certain colour, size, shape, have leaves, do not have leaves, etc. All trees have certain characteristics which allow them to be placed and identified within the same group. Thus a huge red oak and an apple tree will be both seen as trees despite their differences in size (Moore). Alternatively, in the case of Social Construction such knowledge cannot be taken for granted. The way knowledge is presented, the way thing are seen are not dependent upon any set characteristics. Rather they are dependent upon the cumulative reflections of individuals who live within the society. Thus, the only way a tree may be seen as a tree is if all the members of a community agree it is a tree (Gergen).

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