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The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  2,796 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews
Paperback, 1st edition, 240 pages
Published 1967 by Anchor (first published 1387)
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Hadrian
This is quite an interesting book. Its main thesis is an attempt to tie together epistemology and sociology. TO SUMMARIZE: Thought is a social construct. Our ways of thinking are influenced by our ancestors and traditions. There's also Wittgenstein's baby - how language affects thought.

Of course, after watching both political conventions over the past two weeks, it is necessary to discuss the political role of this idea. One could see it being discussed by reformers/radicals, who want to change
...more
Tyler
Apr 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Tyler by: Various Reviews
Political thought since the Enlightenment has turned largely on an apparent opposition between society and the individual. From this has emerged a libertarian argument that society and social facts are actually meaningless notions. Philosophy has largely lost interest in the question with the advent of positivism, yet positivism is itself a contentious proposition.

The validity of the idea of “society” has been taken up in two books with maddeningly similar titles. The first, The Construction of
...more
Ricky
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I like this:

...I am conscious of the world as consisting of multiple realities. As I move from one reality to another, I experience the transition as a kind of shock. This shock is to be understood as caused by the shift in attentiveness that the transition entails. Waking up from a dream illustrates this shift most simply (p. 21).


This reminds me of a passage from Pedro Calderon de la Barca's Life is a Dream


Dreams are rough copies of the waking soul
Yet uncorrected of the higher Will,
So that men
...more
Colin
Feb 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One of the first books that really opened my eyes to epistemology and the sociology of knowledge. A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the social construction of knowledge and reality.
Víctor Galán
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La sociología ha sido tradicionalmente discriminada de alguno círculos científicos por su polémica concepción de integrar a los seres humanos en bases de comportamiento general, es decir, estudiar a los grupos humanos como conjuntos coherentes y similares, donde la individualidad y excentricidad de cada uno queda relegado a un segundo plano y de aceptar esta visión de comportamiento de manada.

No obstante, como ocurre en muchos casos con la filosofía también, esta clase de libros ha permitido con
...more
Gale
Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann define reality as “a phenomenon that we recognize as having a being independent of our own volition.” However, it is evident that humans themselves create their own form of realities and eventually have extreme belief that their realities are actually real. Then, how objective can our reality be if we cannot avoid bias?

Society is a human product. “Man’s relationship to his environment is characterized by world-openness.” Humans are species who are moldable within
...more
Rui Coelho
May 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A very good introduction to constructivist perspectives on the social. It anticipates some of Foucault's and Goffman's theories, among others. This work deserves way more recognition.
Adam
Berger's Social Construction of Reality is a thorough and concise expression of a lot of things I'd already learned or intuited about the topic. This is a nice thing to have, cementing a lot of thoughts in place and confirming that I had indeed understood the concepts accurately. And Berger's writing is nowhere near as impenetrable and arcane as I'd expected it would be. His style is a bit ornate, using unusual phrasings and word variants, but it's all straightforward enough to parse on a first ...more
Sunny
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
In places I thought this book was mind-blowingly good in that I totally 100% agreed with some of its references to culture and how our thought and language in particular goes about moulding the reality around us and, by repetition, the culture we begin to form both as individuals and then as amalgamations of these individual cultures. In other places I totally didn’t have a scooby dooby doo what the book was on about and found myself skipping and whizzing through it. Here are some of the interes ...more
Seth Pierce
Aug 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
While verbose and redundant at times, this is a fascinating look at how humans create the cultural structures that produce reality and identity. While it is easy to detect some cynicism at times regarding objective reality, the authors do a decent job of presenting the material--even if they occasionally make sweeping statements that may not be true.

Libby
Dec 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I read this back in my junior year of high school along with several others by the author, but my mind comes back to it again and again. It is both an insightful and a readable exploration of how society builds plausibility structures and colors our perception of reality.
Gordon
Jul 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Wow. The rumors are true. A damn fine piece of work.
Jan D
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This was very interesting, but hard to read. I liked that it provided some very interesting, coherent ideas of what “reality” is for people and how it is “build”. For this, it introduces some key concepts like objectification, externalization, internalization and reification. Good for understanding the concepts was the use of examples.
Nevertheless, the language was very abstract and it seems that some basic knowledge in the terminology of marxism as well as A. Schütz’s phenomenology would have
...more
Martin Hassman
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sociology
Odborná kniha, která se skvěle čte. Co je to realita z pohledu člověka, společnosti, sociologie? Jak se realita vytváří, jak se ji děti učí, jak můžeme reality (za)měnit? Mnoho zajímavých rozborů a myšlenek o tom, jak my lidé chápeme náš svět.
Thomas
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting treatise on knowledge, how it is imparted, learned, and perceived. Useful in my job working in mental health. Also useful for discussing/arguing the misuse of vocabulary in discussions. Check it out.
Jonas Erne
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wie schreibt man über ein Buch, das viele wertvolle und zum Nachdenken anregende Gedanken enthält, während man der gesamten These des Buches diametral gegenüber steht? Kein einfaches Unterfangen, wie ich immer wieder feststellen muss. Vielleicht ist der beste Einstieg ins Thema mit einem Zitat von Neil Postman gefunden. Postman schreibt zu den Sozialwissenschaften: „Ich nenne die Forschungen dieser Leute Geschichtenerzählen, weil das Wort darauf hinweist, dass der Verfasser einer solchen Geschic ...more
Jesse James
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What is reality? How do we know what is real and what is not? And who gets to construct this reality? Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann addressed these and many other questions about reality, and did so through a sociological lens, rather than using approaches better suited to philosophy (1) or theology. Their treatise on reality has great implications for knowledge management systems of organization, but, more importantly, they describe how it is that reality is a social phenomenon. In this, the ...more
Jeremy Garber
Berger and Luckmann provide a theoretical sketch of how knowledge works in society – not theoretical knowledge, and not philosophical knowledge, but knowledge in general. They outline how humans are born into a particular world, characterized by their face-to-face interactions and their everyday conversations – these interactions and conversations are the “real world” to all of us. Although our reality is arbitrarily created by human interaction, it becomes very real in social institutions, part ...more
Nicholas
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
This is not an easy read by any means,as it was aimed at stimulating academic discussion in the sixties and as such some of the theories are explained in a very convoluted and academic manner. Thankfully the authors recognised the importance of communicating their views to a wider public and provided alternative explanations and numerous and often off beat humorous examples to elucidate the theories under discussion.
The book,as I see it,attempts to explain how far human interaction affects the
...more
Katy
Oct 11, 2008 added it
I'm reading this for a class at school (like all the other books on my currently-reading shelf) and it is painful. I don't fully understand it until we have discussed it in class but it is full of ideas that I've never come across before and that change the way I think about knowledge and reality. The language is definitely from the 1960's though, apparently the only people who think about such things are men.

Update:
Almost finished with the class (almost as painful as the book) and the more we d
...more
Andrew
Jan 12, 2013 added it
Shelves: sociology
From what I understand, this is a central text of 20th Century sociology, and really the book that introduced social constructionism to the general public, which, of course, is one of the most abused and misunderstood and unfairly maligned and unreasonably exalted concepts of 20th Century thought in general.

And, for those of us who have come of intellectual age in an American scene permeated with social constructionism and its innumerable offshoots, it makes a lot of sense, in the same bluff way
...more
Rego Hemia
Jun 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
A sociologist's book on epistemology. While not everyone I share the ideas with agrees with them, most everyone agrees that this book provides some of the most useful tools for identifying different ways of thinking about reality that they've ever seen. I'm rereading the book now, so I'll likely further expand on this once I'm through, but I can't recommend it enough as a source of valuable intro- and extro- spection about the world that we create through our understanding.
Racie
Sep 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: sociology
A masterpiece. No one needs me to tell them how important this book is to sociology. Like a lot of theory, the language can sometimes be daunting because the wordy clarifications needed. Over all it is a fairly easy and quick read which I know I will return to again and again.
Mujib Romadlon
Nov 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
dialektika konstruk sosiologi Internalisasi-obyektifikasi-eksternalisasi selalu mengiringi seseorang dimanapun ia berada, menarik sekali...
Bryon
Apr 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like to base jump while eating a scorpion filled with pcp
it'll blow your brains to the back of this auditorium!
Alexander Smith
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Forewarning: In some ways, I think my rating might be pretty simple to discredit as me simply not having done the prereading. That said, one can take this critique to be about style of writing, or in an extreme, a critique of hiding a lack of validity.

In my reading, I find it very easy to misinterpret this work, or find it hard to follow. This might simply be that the authors will suggest a thing as being a legitimate claim against other notions of "reality", but they don't suggest why, or how t
...more
Steph Zemba
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely beautiful; clearly the authors had a mastery of the English language. I have to stop reading at points just out of sheer enjoyment.
So far, this is the best and most interesting sociology book I've read. It really "pulls back the curtain" of how our world is constructed (hence the title). I would definitely recommend it.
Some gems include:
"No historical situation can be understood except on its own terms"
"Society determines the presence, but not the nature, of ideas"
"No h
...more
Graham
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book for thinking about AR technologies e.g Pokemon Go. And it's from 1966. A recent writer synthesized the book's insights in the contemporary contexts: "Reality is made and remade and “augmented” continuously.... [It's] constructed and contested by people, groups, and structures, and one that is augmented and remixed by information and communication technologies.... That a phone app overlays a cartoon monster on an onscreen map is one small augmentation in a far larger process ...more
Themindbloweress
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, sociology
V této knize autoři se pokouší vysvětlit způsob, jakým vnímáme a vytváříme skutečnost. Jeden z nejdůležitějších poznatků, ke kterému se neustále vrací, je dialektický vztah mezi jedincem a společností, mezi vnímáním a tvorbou, mezi kontrolou, zachováváním současného stavu a možností a někdy nutností změny, transformace. Současně, z mého úhlu pohledu, je to zajímavá ukázka, jak těžké je popisovat něco tak základního. Autoři poukazují na důležitou roli jazyka při popisování a vytváření, definování ...more
Feliks
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: good-nonfiction
Chock-full of fascinating concepts. A crash-course in sociology. Now, the book is divided into three parts, and while there are wonderful flashes of lucidity (at least every few pages)...unfortunately 2/3 of these parts are bogged down in dense, unloving, jargon. Shivery, chilly, technical verbiage which thunks against one's molars as one attempts to masticate and digest. Plenty of grit which gets jammed in your gums. Frankly, it becomes a slog. A worthwhile read, but only for determined seekers ...more
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Peter L. Berger is an internationally renowned sociologist, and the founder of Boston University's Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs. He was born in Vienna and came to the U.S. in his late teens. He has a master's degree and a doctorate from the New School for Social Research in New York. After two years in the United States Army, he taught at the University of Georgia and the Univ ...more
“Human existence is, ab initio, an ongoing externalization. As man externalizes himself, he constructs the world into which he externalizes himself. In the process of externalization, he projects his own meanings into reality. Symbolic universes, which proclaim that all reality is humanly meaningful and call upon the entire cosmos to signify the validity of human existence, constitute the farthest reaches of this projection.80 b.” 3 likes
“Whatever happens “here below” is but a pale reflection of what takes place “up above.” 3 likes
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