Re-Post of Comments

January 18, 2009

I am just learning how to use this blog…Included are comments from previous

  1. jamesafreeman said

    January 17, 2009 at 8:49 am Logos my Blogos’
    “Total socialization is anthropologically impossible. Totally unsuccessful socialization is, at the very least, extremely rare…’ (Berger et al, 1966: 163).
    “The sociology of knowledge is concerned with the analysis of the social construction of reality” (Ibid: 3)
    “How is it possible that subjective meanings become objective facticities?… How is it possible that subjective human activity should produce a world of things…? In other words, an adequate understanding of ‘reality Sui generis‘of society requires an inquiry into the manner which this reality is constructed. This inquiry, we maintain, is the sociology of knowledge” (Ibid: 18).
    A sociological inquiry into conceptions of social life begins with a conscious understanding of your relation to reality. That ‘who I am’ or ‘who you are’ is answerable by a dialectical process of understanding related to our subjective and objective realities. Please discard notions of the individual as separate or distinct and accept the notion that what you think you are is nothing more than the total product of the social reality around you. We are all complex parts of the whole.

    Berger and Luckman’s (B & L) The Social Construction of Reality is a symbolic attempt to acknowledge the questions of how we have come to know things which ultimately direct our actions in reality. Their theoretical treatise implies we have been socially constructed and that we continuously construct society around us as well. There is good reason to seriously consider B& L‘s Social Construction thesis more than 40 years later. They have created a well constructed lexicon (see below for key conceptual ideas) describing how we come to know the social world around us. Their success, however, requires us to ‘inter-subjectively’ acknowledge the theories of the canonical trio of Weber, Marx and Durkheim, moreover supported by others such as Mannheim, Scheler, Symbolic Interactionist George Herbert Mead, and perhaps most importantly the phenomenologist Alfred Schulz. In this sense the authors have committed themselves to building upon the always ongoing sociological project of trying to know social reality by attempting symbiosis amongst the sociological ideas related to social structure and individual consciousness, or subjective interpretive knowing and objective empirical facts.

    B & L emphasis on ‘paramount reality’, ‘the reality of everyday life’ is important when considering the sociological problems that arise in ‘everyday life’ as understood by the individuals amongst the collective (21). As the individual comes into contact with the ‘other’ we ‘inter-subjectively’ come to understand each other through symbols and signs, most important B & L point out through language which objectively validates our experiences, and helps suppress potential conflicts related to biological needs. This is commonsense.

    What I would like to discuss is the notion of humans as habitual creatures, so theorized by B&L. They point out that we are habitual-routine like creatures and it is in our nature to limit the potentiality of chaos by forming habits in response to reality. Moreover, habitual actions eventually form social institutions of various forms that regulate habitual actions of the collective and reproduce them. This institutional formation is of course related to the proximity of the social collective, as different social groups will form quite different institutions. Who we are is a product of internalized habitual social expectations that have been conditioned onto us via primary and secondary socialization, further legitimated and sediminated by authorities of history, religion, force, parents, teachers, etc, and ultimately related back to the institutions which we have created and from which we operate from.

    The 1st video is a critique 6min long, the 2nd video is a much longer video that may or may not elucidate some aspect of the social construction of reality

    What impacts does this have on your disposition towards life? How does this impact what you have come to know? What impacts does this have on sociology?
    Is sociology similar to a sub-universe that is structured to detract outsiders (see 87)?
    What role does legitimation play in constructing our realities? (92)
    Why is Marx’s concept of reification important to B & L understanding and ours as well? (89-92)
    B & L seemingly integrate one’s biological constitution with the social world, in what ways does nature affect nurture, and vice versa? To what degree’s does socialization beget biological frustration? (182)-also look at the idea’s of world-openness and world-closedness (51), in what way does this relate to Marx’s specie’s being?

    Key Concepts : If you have not read the book, or wish to read it again, pay attention to the
    : Reification, inter-subjectivity, typifications, paramount reality, internalization, externalization, objectivation, world-openness, world-closedness, institutionalization, habitualization, legitimation, sedimentation, socialization, dialectic.

  2. jamesafreeman said

    January 17, 2009 at 8:54 am Oh…. And the reason I would like to discuss the habitual-insitutional thesis in B & L is because I feel it is an area that offers us as Sociologists the most room to maneuver as individuals of agency and change…

  3. jamesafreeman said

    January 17, 2009 at 11:06 am Sorry, one more thing. Honestly, I found it difficult to criticize B & L on their theory. However, I was somewhat skeptical in the examples they used simply for their biological baselines of simplicity, maybe I enjoyed it too much,,, help me criticize B&L….

  4. sphier said

    January 18, 2009 at 2:37 am Rousseau argued that human beings (in his words, man) are born free and everywhere find themselves in chains. Sartre argued that man is condemned to be free. Lacan speculated about the existential impossibility of confronting the world as it actually exists in its unadulterated form. Foucault struggled with the existential necessity for human beings to categorize and divide. Mary Douglas, the influential anthropologist, illustrated how groups of human beings fashion their behaviors along the lines of purity and dirt. Black Civil Rights activists in the sixties exemplified the aforementioned line of argumentation: “I am a man.”

    When James writes. “Please discard notions of the individual as separate or distinct and accept the notion that what you think you are is nothing more than the total product of the social reality around you,” does he justifiably stand on the shoulders of his predecessors?

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