Custom «The Social Construction of Reality» Essay Paper Sample

The Social Construction of Reality

Berger and Luckmann (1966) have identified the crucial dialectical experiences of social reality. In their book, "The Social Construction of Reality", they state that "Society is an objective reality. Man is a social product. Society is a human product" (Berger & Luckmann, 1966, p 61). The three states are crucial for the development of society. Man is involved in the production of the society. In fact, the creation of different institutions enhances an objective reality that is considered to have an impact on the generations to come. Man being a product of the socialization process is constrained to act according to the social requirements. As such, the continued interaction and exchanges between man and the society results formation of strongly held perspectives of life for an individual person and the society as a whole.

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Changing the society under the theory developed by Berger and Luckmann involves a complete understanding of four major relationships between man and the society. The first relationship is the nature of man. Berger and Luckmann state that "While it is possible to say that man has a nature, it is more significant to say that man constructs his own nature, or more simply, that man produces himself" (Berger & Luckmann 1966:49). From the foregoing, it is evident that human as an organism has the ability to apply the equipment of constitution in diverse activities in an extensive and varying manner. Focusing the relationship in terms of the development of an organism, it is evident that the first year after birth of a human being forms part of the fetal stage.

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The second important relationship between man and the society is language as tool for socialization. Berger and Luckmann address social organization and language through sedimentation concept.

They admit that a small part of the totality of human experiences is held in consciousness. Therefore, the retained experiences are congealed as memorable events (Berger & Luckmann, 1966, p 67). Therefore, society is embodied in language and various institutions. The third aspect is the connection between self transformation and institutions. Institutions result from habitualization (Berger & Luckmann, 1966, p 54). Therefore, the habits and actions demonstrated by people result to institutionalization. Therefore society results from human actions. Fourthly, objective reality constrains human freedom. Reification limits human freedom as his phenomena is apprehended as if it were non-human. Individuals have limited freedom to choose different actions from a collection of various actions and roles. In changing the society, the four aspects have to be addressed adequately to focus on the code of intended behavior.

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The Jungian theory of personal unconsciousness reveals the unconscious as a superficial layer. Jung described "feeling-toned complexes" which exist inside the personal unconscious. He described the complexes as the constituents of private and personal psychic life (Jung, 1957 p 80). According to Jung, the toned complexes were the perceptions and feelings formed around specific events and persons. A significant and particularly deeper layer of unconscious exists. This, Jung described as collective unconscious based on his belief on existence of universal, innate and unconscious archetypes.

The collective unconscious stores traces of inherited memory the ancestors. In his view, Jung incorporates aspects of Darwinian evolution theory and ancient mythology. Transforming the society involves first transforming the individual. According to Jung, the collective unconscious is universal but not completely tapped. Therefore, Jung suggested that the collective unconscious forms the foundation of human personality. Jung's study of religions, symbols, mythology, dreams, rituals and visions revealed that the unseen psychic happenings can be apprehended through diverse esoteric teachings. In short, society can be transformed by revealing previously hidden knowledge.

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An addelsonian commentary on the two theories above relates to the beliefs people have on scientific knowledge. The theory on changing the society based on Berger and Luckmann's social construction of reality draw on four major aspects that are considered important in the relationship between man and the society. Addelson's "The man of Professional Wisdom" (2004) elaborates on the critical aspects of science that influence knowledge growth and cognitive authority. Changing the community based on the theory of Berger and Luckmann can be viewed from Addelson's perspective as having been induced from the training acquired in the early school days.

In the beginning of schooling, kids believe the scientific knowledge taught is meant to make them grow in knowledge. Similarly, the Jungian theory on collective unconscious can be viewed on Addelson's perspective as the aspects influenced through disperse of scientific knowledge. Thus the theories developed towards societal change and transformation can be viewed from Addelsonian commentary as purely based on the quest for scientific knowledge enrichment and therefore the desire to live up to the taught knowledge.

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A theory of societal transformation based on Addelson's "Man of Professional wisdom" can be developed in regard to the influence possessed by science specialists on people. Addelson asserts that "we believe that the methods of science are the most rational that human kind has devised for investigating the world and that they yield objective knowledge" (Addelson, 2004 p. 165). Therefore, in transforming the society, people take the understanding of specialists about factual things and their perspectives towards natural world.

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