Toward a sociology of perception: Sight, sex, and gender

  • Friedman A
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Many theories of social construction make some reference to sight, yet few offer sustained examinations of perception. In light of this, I highlight the visual dimension of the social construction of reality by analyzing visual perception as a process of socio-mental filtration. Building on theories of social construction most notably those using the concepts frame, paradigm and schema in which expectations are the organizing force of experience, I focus on how social construction happens. One key effect of expectations is to enact selective attention, which is evocatively captured by the metaphor of a filter. Drawing on the case of sex and gender, I demonstrate that using filter analysis to identify the specific dynamics of socio-optical construction adding a concrete analysis of visual perception to the general idea of social construction may help scholars to more effectively account for some of the hard problems of constructionist theory, such as the body.

Author-supplied keywords

  • body
  • cognition
  • gender
  • perception
  • sex

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  • Asia Friedman

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