Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Social Construction of Reality
The social construction of reality is a sociological premise that individuals' reality is “invented” as a product of the objective “real” world they experience; the subjective meanings they bring to, and draw from, these experiences; and the inter subjective agreements produced in interactions with other individual actors in which they construct an agreed-upon perception of reality. This entry outlines the intellectual foundations of social constructionism. It also provides an illustration of how the philosophy can be applied to race and crime. Ideas about a socially constructed reality were introduced by the early phenomenologist philosophers Edmund Husserl and Max Scheler. In their efforts to understand the structures of consciousness, they observed that the mind can be directed at real things (e.g., the dog barking in your backyard), as well as nonexistent things (e.g., your anxieties related to dogs barking in your backyard). The term was actually coined by Alfred Schutz, who ...