The Social Construction of Reality through Mythmaking and Legitimating

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The Social Construction of Reality through Mythmaking and Legitimating Social discourse between different groups in societies lead to the formation of new concepts and mental representations. When societies adopted these new concepts or mental representations they then became institutionalized and intrinsic to the functioning of those societies. Russell T. McCutcheon asserted ‘(1) that myths “are not special (or ‘sacred’) but ordinary humans means of fashioning and authorizing their lived-in and believed-in worlds,’ (2), that myths as an ordinary rhetorical device in social construction and maintenance makes this rather than that social identity possible in the first place and (3) that a people’s use of the label ‘myth’ reflects, expresses, explores and legitimizes their own self-image” (McCutcheon 200). However, Paul L. Berger affirmed that legitimation, the process whereby "knowledge" is socially objectified and is used to justify social order, “serves to support the swaying edifice of social order” (Berger pg 3) and that legitimation “takes the form of proverbs, moral maxims, and traditional wisdom” which in turn “may be further developed and transmitted in the form of myths” (Berger pg 4). In African Americans, Exodus, and The American Israel and God’s New Israel Berger and McCutcheon‘s theories, described the processes that the different groups used to construct their mythology and dogma through a social dialectic. In African Americans, Exodus, and The American Israel, Albert J. Raboteau (explains) how the African slaves internalized the myth of Exodus written in the Bible and viewed themselves to be Old Israel. African slaves could apply Exodus to their own experiences of slavery because it “functioned as an arche... ... middle of paper ... ...kpiling the past in plain sight. Berger proposed that legitimation was the process where knowledge was socially objectified to maintain socially defined realities. In the texts mentioned above, each group was vicariously living through the Hebrew experience of Exodus. They were utilizing their past experiences, the Hebrew experiences and beliefs along with their own personal beliefs to rewrite their identity, reality, and their overall history. Our historical mainstream thought never addressed the mechanisms and processes that groups undertake to create their self-identity only the general facts, but these two theories both helps us understand the facts and the mechanisms and processes in how the African slaves and the US and their American civil religion utilized mythmaking and legitimation to produce a new worldview and new history that was waiting to be unfolded.

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