Tutor profile: Camile D.
How does the process of developing a social construct relate to Durkheim's differentiation between a social and natural fact?
Social constructs are a process, a way of using meaningful qualification for a certain category that we like to argue is based on biological, but some of it is artificial and have non universal features. The process of assigning meaning to objects, people and things is part of the social construction of categories. Let's think about race, is this a social or natural fact? Durkheim would say race is a social fact. Race is not just about how you look; but how people assign meaning to how you look. In this sense, the concept of race would be a a social fact, because it is any way of action that is not natural or given. Just because something is a social construct does not mean it does not have real impact of lives of a the collective. There are many examples of social constructs that exert themselves over all members of the group and that constrains our behavior:
Subject: Political Science
Let's imagine Aristotle and Machiavelli are in a coffee shop having a pleasant conversation over their books, Politics by Aristotle and The Prince by Machiavelli, what would both of them agree on?
Both of them would agree on the concept that rulers should serve the people. Machiavelli defended good rulers who put their people first, rulers who defended the law were ideal rulers. Aristotle would have agreed with that because for Aristotle, a ruler was a servant to his people. A ruler had to protect the diversity of goods for the common good of all. That could not be accomplished with a ruler who was only concerned with his own power. Both them also believed that a ruler should just let their people be: Machiavelli believed that a ruler who wishes to remain in power should leave his people alone. Aristotle would agree, he thinks that it is necessary to protect the common good. For Aristotle, Trying to mandate what people can and cannot do in their lives is simply going to prevent the common good from being disrupted.
In the topic of communication, possibly the most important distinction we should make, is between persuasion and manipulation. In your opinion, what is the difference between persuasion and manipulation in communication?
Believe it or not there are ethics of persuasion. Persuasion is an attempt to influence attitudes and beliefs so your audience(s) can make informed decisions. Manipulation on the other hand, preys on the vulnerability of audience(s) to get them to behave in ways that goes against their best interest.
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