Since reading The Social Construction of Reality, I've been wondering more about whether the ideas I think are important or take for granted are actually social constructs. Things like the alphabet, government, social customs and taboos have caught my eye for investigation and pondering the meaning of.
Now what about jealousy?
Is jealousy (some say it's a force to be reckoned with), is jealousy a social construct? Is it real? Does it exist in any way outside of our social constructed reality?
Well I Googled it.
Where I learned the most discussion on the social construction of jealously lies is in the context of monogomous relationships.
I like what this person has to say:
As far as I can tell, jealousy is an entirely invented social construct. It’s like God, in that we all have to pretend to believe in it, and act like we believe in it, when we don’t really feel it at all. But we see everyone else acting as if it exists, which convinces us that it is real, and so we have to play along as well or risk being the one weirdo freak. And no one realizes that everyone is faking it. - Jealousy is a social construct - Death Is Bad accessed June 8, 2018
Jealousy is kind of like God in a sense. We submit to the power of Jealousy. While we don't worship it, we acknowledge it as something that exists, yet it doesn't exist in any concrete way. Jealousy powers us to do stuff, though mostly bad I think. But it's like a God in that it is like a force that acts upon people, yet we can't prove it exists in any objective way.
In investigating jealousy in non-monogomous relationships in Rachael Krantz' Why Do We Get Jealous In Non-Monogamous Relationships? 5 Theories, Explained, she mentions Dr. Hupka's Theory that jealousy is a social construct that is correlated with certain values in a society. Where there is less of an importance on individual property in a society, or who is the biological parent of children, there is basically less jealousy. Dr. Hupka, by the way, is a cross cultural psychologist.
So if jealousy is a social construct in this way, where it is tied in with the values of a society, then it seems to be a secondary social construct or a by product of the values of a society. Of course, in many cases, especially in psychology or sociology, it's hard to establish causation.
Jealousy is an interesting phenomena, one that I think many of us would agree is a bad phenomena, though some could argue good things about it, but jealousy is there, most would agree, right in us, and whether it's socially constructed or objectively true, it's something we deal with. Or is it the case that it's nothing, and it's nothing to deal with?
I don't know. It's fascinating when you look at the web of our ideas and all these little things, like jealousy, sadness, anger, happiness, excitement, etc. What are these things? Are they real? If they are socially constructed are they still real? It's something to think about.