Essay on The Social Construction Of Reality

Essay on The Social Construction Of Reality

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The Social Construction of Reality
Many theories have been developed over the years in attempt to explain how and why the human race interacts in the ways that they do. One of these theories is called the social construction of reality. Also referred to as social constructionism, this theory explains how humans come to understand knowledge through the sociological and communicative developments of these jointly constructed disciplines. Social constructionism became famous in the United States when Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann wrote the book entitled, The Social Construction of Reality in 1966. In their theory, Berger and Luckmann assert that all knowledge, including the most basic of everyday reality, is derived from social interactions. Berger and Luckmann declare that when people interact, it is done with the understanding that their respective perceptions of reality are related. As humans act upon this, their common knowledge of reality is further developed and reinforced. (Collett)
Social constructionism, or the social construction of reality, can be measured on a scale that varies from weak to strong. The weak end of the scale would depend on situations that deal with a background of specific facts or evidence that explain the situation. Money is the perfect example of weak social constructionism. In the United States, money is associated with green paper bills, which are traded for goods and services. These very specific pieces of green paper only have value because society has agreed it does. This particular culture assigned value to the paper, where as other societies may find this green paper to be valueless, perhaps because they have established worth in a certain coin. Strong social constructionism...

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...ction of reality captivates its audience, intriguing them with all of the possibilities it provides. This theory has been accepted into the sociological and communicative community, allowing the fourth standard for interpretive theories to be achieved: community of agreement. Unfortunately, social constructionism does not reform society, but it is not necessary for an interpretive theory to meet all six standards. Social constructionism does, however, meet the final standard of qualitative research. It utilizes textual analysis and ethnography to gather the data used to support the assertions of the theory. With five of the six standards met, the social construction of reality has proved to be an interesting and reliable theory that allows people a closer look into why and how humans establish meaning and value to different aspects of society. (Ledbetter, Root)

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