• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Evaluate the contribution of the social perspective to our understanding of language and meaning and the psychology of sex and gender

Extracts from this document...


DSE212: TMA06 [DSE212: TMA06] Question Evaluate the contribution of the social perspective to our understanding of language and meaning and the psychology of sex and gender. Essay Different psychological perspectives lead to different theories providing diverse insights into the same issue i.e. language and meaning. They focus their enquiry in different ways and consequently have dissimilar objects of knowledge. Each perspective asks different questions, use different methods and data and produce therefore different theories. These perspectives can be complementary, conflicting and/or coexisting, whereby each perspective and theory provides a variety of ways of applying their findings to everyday psychological problems. By focusing on the social psychological perspective, this essay will initially evaluate how this perspective contributes to a greater understanding in the formation, acquisition and use of language and how this understanding co-exists with, and may be complimented by or is in contrast to, other perspectives and how this fits in with the understanding of sex and gender. Social psychological perspectives emphasise the importance of investigating cognition by studying how meaning is created through participation and cultural practices and through language. The evolvement, acquisition and application of language used by humans, to express meaning and pursue goals, have been a topic of study amongst the various perspectives in psychology most notably evolutionary, cognitive and social perspectives. ...read more.


The three perspectives therefore provide complimentary understandings of language based on their individual analysis being evolution, individual processing or social construction. Parker (1992, as cited in: Cooper & Kay, 2007, p. 105) describe discourse as a set of symbolic meanings created through the use of language to construct an event or object in a particular way. This is evident in the claim by social psychologists that individuals construct the world as consisting of two basic types of people - men and women. This is partially achieved through social identity processes as theorised in the Social Identity Theory (SIT) of Tajfel (1919-82, as cited in Phoenix & Thomas, 2007, p. 62) whereby individuals devise descriptions which derive from the social group they see themselves belonging to (i.e. male or female). Individuals, according to SIT, then tend to maximise perceived similarities to others in the same group (ingroup) whilst minimising it with those outside the group (outgroup) e.g. the notion of "opposite sex" (Hollway, Cooper, Johnston and Stevens, 2007, p. 151). Gender is consequently one of the most important and powerful social categories by which individuals define themselves. Bem (1981 as cited in: Hollway et al, 2007, p. 153) proposed in the Gender Schema Theory (GST) ...read more.


underline, from a social constructionist point of view, the notion that the sexual behaviour of men and women is filtered through their own individual cultural lenses. Psychoanalytical psychologists (e.g. Benjamin, 1990, 1995, 1998 as cited in: Hollway et al, 2007, p.164) argue that these external influences (e.g. identities are constructed through discourse and discursive practices) are over emphasised by social constructionists and therefore does not explain the agency and capacity for resistance and change by individuals. Each of these perspectives provides a valuable point of view but none is able to give a complete explanation of the findings of the study with each perspective concentrating on its own theoretical ground when analysing the findings of a study. In conclusion, it is clear that different perspectives in psychology lead to different explanations of one or more psychological issues. These perspectives can co-exist in some ways such as the fact that social constructionists and psychoanalysts both base their interpretations on meaning. Social constructionists provide a comprehensive account in formulating an understanding of language and gendered differences with a strong focus on the extraction of meaning of behaviour. Although this perspective goes a long way in understanding these, and other, psychological aspects, they do not answer all aspects such as the evolution and individual understanding of language. Findings of other perspectives such as biological, evolutionary and cognitive psychology assist in providing an explanation of those items social constructionists cannot account for. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Social Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Critically evaluate trait theories of personality.

    Rating scales of self are particularly subject to problems relating to self-knowledge. In other words, the better you know yourself, the better the rating will be. The same logic applies to ratings of others. An interesting problem with ratings, in general, is the halo effect.

  2. Life coaching course essay. I present in this essay an understanding of what motivation ...

    Once she was able to establish who she was and what she wanted, I wanted for us both to understand what was blocking her. I began to realise she was unhappy where she was living but didn't want to make a move because she had a fear of making the

  1. A Critical Appraisal of the Concept of Medicalization for Understanding Dementia.

    memory, language, other intellectual abilities, and general competence over a 7 to 15-year period until death. She views dementia as an example of the medicalization of deviance, which she defines as "explaining and treating personal and social troubles as medical problems."

  2. Discuss and evaluate the different social psychological approaches to understanding human aggression?

    John Dollard and Neal E. Miller developed the frustration - aggressive hypothesis which is based on Freud's ideas of aggression. This theory states that frustration induces a number of different responses, one of which is aggression; "occurrence of aggressive behaviour always presupposes the existence of frustration and the existence of frustration always leads to some form of aggression".

  1. juvenile conflict with law

    However, though the third alternative appears to be extremely lucrative, it has its own serious flaws. The most important flaw is the emphasis on the non-formal correctional agencies like parental control, school control, control of the class (tribal) council, control of the village panchayat authority; the same point which is

  2. Critically evaluate socio-economic and cultural predictors of psychological well-being.

    Furthermore, results from a cross-cultural meta-analysis of 55 nations conducted by Diener, Diener and Diener (1995) revealed similar findings even when basic needs were met, which implies that income is important for SWB beyond merely fulfilling basic needs. However Myers (2000)

  1. How important are ethics and social responsibility?

    In developed countries (such as the USA and Australia), the business environment is typically characterized by powerful business enterprises, a legal environment aimed at eliciting ethical behaviors on the part of businesses, and societal expectations that businesses should be more ethical and socially responsible.

  2. Research Proposal - Investigating The Effect of Social Anxiety on Motor Response

    The time taken to burst each balloon will be recorded. Finally, participants would be debriefed and reimbursed for travel costs. References Baas, J. M. P., Grillon, C., Böcker, K. B. E., Brack, A. A., Morgan, C. A. I., Kenemans, J.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work