chapter  24
Social Construction Theory
Communication Co-Creating Families
ByDawn O. Braithwaite, Elissa Foster, Karla M. Bergen
Pages 12

Social construction can be thought of as a theoretical cousin to symbolic interaction, which takes a central focus on social roles created via language use. These two theories are often mistakenly used interchangeably. This chapter focuses on social construction because it has been used more frequently by family communication scholars and provides the best theoretical resource. It discusses some social constructionists also center their research in the critical paradigm, which is dedicated to addressing perspectives and voices that are marginalized or silenced. Family communication researchers have focused attention on many types of diverse families that further illustrate the valuable and practical contributions of communication research using a social construction lens, including LGBTQ families, adoptive families, and ethnically diverse families. Early signs of the influence of social construction on interpersonal communication scholarship began with the development of relational communication theory, which emphasized that relationships and meanings emerge between individuals.