The Social Construction Of Reality Summary

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Berger and Luckman’s “The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the
Sociology of Knowledge” (1966) book is about how reality is socially constructed and how sociology of knowledge is analyzing this process. “The term social construction of theory refers to the theory that the way we present ourselves to other people is shaped partly by our interactions with others, as well as by our life experiences”.(Spark Notes Editors, 2006). This book is about the sociological interest in the concepts of reality and knowledge.
It is also said that the definition of reality is not constant and it changes from a man to a philosopher and to a sociologist.According to Berger & Luckmaan(1966)
,What is ‘real’ to a Tibetan monk may not be real to an American
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The term “sociology of knowledge “was coined by Max Scheler.It is concerned with the relationship between human thought and the social context within which it arises. The intellectual antecedents of the sociology of knowledge are three developments in nineteenth-century German though. They are the Marxism,the
Nietzschean and the historicst.These three developments helped play a role in the ideas that influenced Sociology of knowledge.
Marx ideas influenced sociology of knowledge .It’s root proposition that man’s consciousness is determined by his society.Mark’s twin concepts of substructure/superstructure fascinated it .Substructure and superstructure can be thought as human activity and the world produced by that activity,but most of the sociology of knowledge was formulated in opposition to Marxism.
Nietzsche’s ideas were less used in the sociology of knowledge. His concept of resentment was used by Scheler directly as a factor to generate some types of human thoughts. Sociology of knowledge also represents a specific application of
Nietzsche known as art of mistrust.
Scheler argued that the society determines the presence but not the nature of ideas. He analyzed the manner in which human knowledge is ordered by
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According to Mannheim, the sociological analysis of ideologies constitutes an important part of the sociology of knowledge.
The sociology of knowledge is considered to be a part of the empirical discipline of sociology. Here the main focus is on sociological theory but not of the methodology of sociology. The main concern of the sociology of knowledge must be commonsensical knowledge rather than ideas. The society would not also exist without knowledge and is in accordance with Mannheim.
George H.Mead and his work on symbolic interactionism have influenced their work a lot. The analysis of the internalization of social reality by them was influenced by him. Symbolic interactionism explains social behavior in terms of the ways of interaction of people with each other via symbols. Reality is seen as social and developed interaction with others based on social interactionism. The concept of pragmatism was also used by them. According to concept of pragmatism, the reality or truth does not exist independently of actor and truth is a phenomenon which emerges when the actors interact with the world.
According to Berger & Luckmaan (1966), Everyday life presents itself as a

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