Is "belongingness" used in American English? Ex. "the construction of social belongingness is markedly a relational process".

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    Those Americans who would write "the construction of social _____ is markedly a relational process" might actually be prone to using the word "belongingness". But the rest of us don't. – Peter Shor Apr 11 '16 at 19:42
  • I've never heard it before. But if you drop the "ness" - "the construction of social belonging is markedly a relational process" then yes, that sounds natural. – cobaltduck Apr 11 '16 at 19:43
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    I'd agree that 'belongingness' sounds more awkward than the gerund 'belonging', but it is still valid. – superato Apr 11 '16 at 19:51
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    I remember belongingness from Maslow, but nowadays it seems to be associated primarily with something called belongingness theory in psychology. So yes, it is used, but I would not recommend that you use it except very carefully. Among social scientists, it refers to a specific concept. Among the general public, belonging is entirely adequate. – choster Apr 11 '16 at 21:14
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    Only under duress, or the influence of soporific writing. :-). – Rob_Ster Apr 12 '16 at 1:30


  • the quality or state of being an essential or important part of something:

    • The company has developed social programs to give employees a sense of belongingness.

(Random House Dictionary)

The term appears to be more common than one might expect and according to Ngram it is now equally common in AmE and BrE.

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    Though it is mostly used as psychological jargon/double talk. It's not a word that ordinary humans would use. – Hot Licks Jul 11 '16 at 3:23

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