William H. Swatos Jr.
Preeminently the result of Berger and Luckmann's book The Social Construction of Reality (1966), constructionist theory claims that what human beings at any moment hold to be “real” in social experience is itself a social creation, and in that moment is simultaneously a social product and production. Drawing particularly upon the work of Mead and Schütz, they posit a three-moment dialectic using the concepts of externalization , objectivation , and internalization. Society is a human product. Society is objectively real. “The human” is a social product. These three simple sentences provide a theoretical structure for understanding both in and through time how people relate not only to their external social world, but also to their own identities. Constructionist theory simultaneously incorporates and supersedes role theory inasmuch as it extends beyond roles to both reality and identity. That is, both where I am and who I am socially become both the effect and cause of where I am and who I am socially in and through an unending process of interaction sequences that constitute not merely social experience but also human being itself. Subtitled “A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge,” The Social Construction of Reality is intended to present a sociological account of how it is that, both collectively and individually, humans “know” the world around them and their place ... log in or subscribe to read full text
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