Phenomenological Sociologists Study

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Phenomenology is a more recent theory which is still rejected by many in the field of Sociology. Phenomenological sociologists study how people define their social situations once they have learned cultural notions. The idea behind this theory is that everyday reality is a socially constructed set of ideas that have accumulated over time and is often taken for granted by the members of the group. The history of phenomenological sociology is the work of German philosopher Edmund Husserl, in which he describes this theory as interest in things that can be taken in by one’s senses; thus, “we can never know more about things than what we experience directly through our senses” (Wallace & Wolf 2008:263).

Under the phenomenology sociology is the analysis of Peter Berger’s social reality construction. He argues that reality is socially constructed and then proceeds to examine the basis on which knowledge about reality is structured. He explains that reality is a matter of taking notice of the structured, almost modular, aspect of everyday experiences, even though the immediacy of experience has the effect of enabling individuals to take it for granted. Berger argues that one way of calling attention to the everyday-life, taken-for-granted features of experience is to abstract from problems or activities that interrupt the smooth flow of experience. This reality is both subjective and objective. By subjective Berger means that reality is personally meaningful to an individual and by objective he means that the social order, or institutional world that is created by individuals. An example of this in the movie Taking Chance, the reality is that joining the military and going to war sometimes brings with it death, which is objective, w...

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...” Because his two realities differ inside of him it causes conflict with his self-worth.

Berger’s theory of social construction of reality defines socialization as the internalization of society’s values and norms. Social institutions are there and are coercive; their purpose must not be understood in order to exist. They exist as an external reality; therefore the individual must learn about them. Interaction becomes this way predictable in taken-for-granted routines, providing stability in the everyday life. Although they are perceived as natural and ‘give, they cannot exist apart from the human activity that produced it in the first place. Man and social world are in constant interaction.

Works Cited

Wallace, Ruth A. and Alison Wolf. 2008. Contemporary Sociological Theory: Expanding the Classical Tradition. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

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