“Social Construction of Reality”

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“Social Construction of Reality”

Reality is not an objective thing that is imposed upon us, but is created by us. Reality does not exist externally but internally, as each individual or group interprets it, and is always changing. Due to these concepts sociologists often speak about the “social construction of reality” which is essential to understand when attempting to explain human social behavior. Since realty is the basis of people’s actions, W. I. Thomas states, “If people define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”. The “social construction of reality”, human social behavior and W. I. Thomas’s statement are three concepts that fit hand in hand and are important when trying to explain one another.

Sociologists speak about the “social construction of reality” as a way to describe the significance of how society shapes our definition of reality. People coming together to build reality and define something as real because we define it as real. As sociologists explain the social construction of reality they have observed that each society or the social groups that each person belongs to forms ones particular views on life. Our “social construction of reality” constructs our views of how we see the world around us therefore affecting how we see reality and why we do the things we do. People construct reality using the five senses: sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste. For example, when taking a table into consideration, one does not react to the concrete object but the meaning we give it. If this same table were to fall out of the sky, land in a jungle and tribe people were to stumble across it they most likely would not use it in the same context but maybe as a bed or a sacrificial altar. The “social construction of reality” not only applies to inanimate objects but to relationships and the basis of how someone treats someone else, such as symbolic interactionism (Essentials of Sociology, pg. 15). Symbolic interactionism such as we...
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