The Social Construction of Reality. The Social Construction of Reality. 5 min. Social Construction of Reality. Interacting people form concepts (mental representations) of each other's actions. These concepts become established in the reciprocal roles people play. Social Construction
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Social Construction of Reality Interacting people form concepts (mental representations) of each other's actions. These concepts become established in the reciprocal roles people play.
Social Construction of Reality Conceptions of reality (including social expectations, knowledge and belief) become embedded in the institutional fabric of society. Social reality is therefore said to be socially constructed.
Institutionalization Institutionalized patterned Behavior behavior [customs] [habit] Patterns of behavior learned through mutual observation leads to mutual agreement (customs) on the “way of doing things.” This Institutionalization of social processes reduces uncertainty and misunderstanding.
Habitualization Background behavioral choices are narrowed opening up a foreground for deliberation and innovation [which demand a higher level of attention]… The most important gain is that each [member of society] will be able to predict the other’s actions.
“objective worlds” Social (institutional) Customs and social institutions are passed on to a new generation. This creates an “objective reality”.
“objective worlds” Social (institutional) While the underlying reasoning is fully transparent to the creators of an institution, the second generation inherits it as something “given”, “unalterable” and “self-evident.”
Symbolic Universes A set of beliefs “everybody knows” that makes social life understandable. The symbolic universe legitimizes and explains why we do things the way we do.
Symbolic Universes Consists of proverbs, moral maxims, wise sayings, mythology, theology, traditions, value systems, a general theory of the cosmos and a theory of origins.
Symbolic Universes Ideas that legitimize institutions, establish a general theory of the cosmos and a general theory of man.
Symbolic Universes ...orders history by locating all collective events in a cohesive unity that includes past, present and future.
Disrupted Symbolic Universes THE GENERATION GAP Universe-maintenance is necessary when the symbolic universe is disrupted. This occurs in the transmission of the symbolic universe between generations.
Variation in Symbolic Universes THE SUBCULTURE GAP Symbolic universes are different not only for young and old, but for those who tend to be conservative and liberal, male and female, gay and straight, Asian and American.
Acncriodg to a reserchaer at Crdgaimbe Ueisnrvity, it dsoen't mtetar in waht oerdr the leertts in a word are, the olny iotnmarpt tinhg is that the fsirt and lsat lteetr be at the rghit pacle. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can still raed it whutoit a polrbem. Tihs is bacusee the hmaun mind deos not raed eevry lteetr by isletf but the wrod as a wohle.
Acncriodg to a reserchaer at Crdgaimbe Ueisnrvity, it dsoen't mtetar in waht oerdr the leertts in a word are, the olny iotnmarpt tinhg is that the fsirt and lsat lteetr be at the rghit pacle. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can still raed it whutoit a polrbem. Tihs is bacusee the hmaun mind deos not raed eevry lteetr by isletf but the wrod as a wohle. According to a researcher at Cambridge University, it doesn't matter in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is that the first and last letter be at the right place. The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without a problem. This is because the human mind does not read every letter by itself but the word as a whole.
Universe-Maintaining Strategies Two societies or generations with conflicting universes will develop concepts designed to maintain their respective universe. Mythology, theology, and science are universe-maintaining strategies.
HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT WE “KNOW?”
Social Construction process of SOCIALIZATION, where individuals learn and internalize customs, habits, and values. Socialization is split into three main life periods
Socialization “how we know what we know” Primary - grandparents, parents, siblings Secondary - school, friends, media, [church] Tertiary - job, marriage, family (adult)
Primary “how we know what we know” grandparents, parents, siblings
Primary Socialization early childhood learn BASIC rules of society Caregivers (parents)correcting behavior example: nudity = shame
Primary Socialization early childhood Emotionally charged, not questioned, less flexible than secondary socialization. This primary internalized world is more firmly entrenched in consciousness than worlds which internalize institution-based sub-worlds.
Secondary “how we know what we know” school, friends, media, [religion]
Secondary Socialization Childhood through adolescence learning ROLE specific knowledge Social institutions mold our beliefs (church, school, media, nation) in overt and covert ways
Secondary Socialization Learning role-specific knowledge (taking one’s place in the social division of labor) through training and specific rituals. It is not emotionally charged (“it’s not necessary to love one’s teacher”).
Adult “how we know what we know” job, marriage, parenting
Adult Socialization job, marriage, parenting, home ownership, aging
Symbolism A symbol is an object, picture, sound or written word that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention. For example, flags are symbols for nation-states. Numbers are symbols for amounts. All language consists of symbols. Personal names are symbols representing individuals. Product brands.
Social Constructivism Social Construction focuses on SYMBOLIC communication How do humans co-create, institutionalize, and maintain SHARED meaning? Meaning is shaped by socio-historical location and content (e.g., marriage and gender are cultural constructs).
Reality Maintenance Mundane, everyday, redundant acts of communication constantly REAFFIRMS (sometimes challenge) our inter-subjective understanding of reality. We MAINTAIN our socially constructed worlds by identifying with symbols that best fit into our subjective and socially constructed reality. we select news that confirms our beliefs
Identity Socially Constructed Whatever makes us distinct, definable and recognizable in comparison with others Gender is a core identity We change identities when we play roles (mother, daughter, husband, wife, employer, employee
Gender Issues Are: Spousal abuse personal and political Systemic regardless of individual belief (“it’s a private matter”) -- you don’t have to be sexist to benefit from the sexist system -- racism, sexism, and homophobia are built into the very structures of HOW we communicate (e.g., male-generic language)
Social Construction of Inequality socially created designations of superiority and inferiority people internalize these subtle social designations
Words Matter recognizing prejudice as a social construct allows us to QUESTION and RESIST its continuation we can challenge mundane acts of communication that construct inferior and superior groups morally we can be conscious!
Ferdinand de Saussure “father of modern linguistics” (1857–1913) Words are not inherently meaningful. A word is only a symbol that represents something else. It must be understood in the brain in order to have meaning. He believed deconstructing signs is a science where we learn how humans synthesize physical stimuli into words and other abstract concepts.
Communication Social Change Consumer skills: identify and challenge discourses that promote prejudice and discrimination Self-reflexivity: being aware of your own prejudices and how they were formed
Reflexivity Reflexivity refers to circular relationships between cause and effect. A reflexive relationship is bidirectional; with both the cause and the effect affecting one another. Reflexivity is an act of self-reference and the capacity to recognize forces of socialization.
"reflexive modernity" Anthony Giddens Over time, society is becoming increasingly more self-aware, reflective, hence, reflexive.
Netizen Journalists 2:00
new middle class Occupations construction of postmodern culture determining taste patterns influencing behavior advertising, marketing, design, architecture, journalism, television production, accountants and the consumer credit industry
Postmodernism and you
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