Is reality a social construct

Social constructivism


(= S.), [Engl. social constructivism; lat. construere produce; constructio Amalgamation], [FSE, KOG, PHI, SOZ], assumes that the reality surrounding people is not an objectively given, but a socially constructed one (symbolic interactionism, ethnomethodology, social phenomenology). People always confront a reality that has already been constructed in a meaningful way and reproduce or modify it through their further interactions: “Both according to its genesis (social order is the result of past human activities) and in its presence at every moment (it only exists and as long as human Activity does not cease to produce it) the social order as such is a product of the human being »(Berger & Luckmann, 1974, p. 55). Social constructivist approaches do not form a uniform theory; Different ideas can be differentiated about the processes or mechanisms by which social reality is produced and objectified. However, all social constructivist assumptions are based on “three axioms” (Kruse, 2013):

1st axiom: Reality is always contingent because it is always constructed! In principle, qualitative social research is empirically applied constructivism. In agony Research is a basic philosophy of science that reality is never obj. Is reality, but always interactively produced, i.e. constructed reality (Constructivity postulate). Reality is always available in different versions (Versatility) and it is forbidden to ask how true this reality is; at most one can ask how useful it is, i. H. what it is used for (Watzlawick, 1976). This constructivist understanding of reality also makes it clear that reality is always contingent, i. i.e., reality could always look completely different (Contingency acceptance). The fact that reality is always contingent, because it is always socially constructed, does not mean - which is a frequent constructivist misunderstanding - that it is arbitrary, arbitrary or accidental, because it always takes place according to specific. Rules and relevance (which can also be explored) in a meaningful way. The fact that reality is always contingent, since it is always socially constructed, does not mean that it is not “objective” for the social actors who move within it. This can only be done through the familiar Thomas theorem clarified: "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences" (Thomas & Thomas, 1928, p. 572).

2. Axiom: Everything has or makes sense! From this constructiveness postulate and the inherent assumption of contingency follows a second axiom which at first glance expresses itself as an imposition: Everything has or makes sense. However, this assumption of meaningfulness is elementary for qualitative social research. However, it only makes sense if a specific The concept of meaning is used, which in its first access to reality is not conceived normatively or morally-ethically, but purely existentialist (a reality has become existent and therefore there must be a reason, a meaning that it has become just as existent) and is only reflected in these dimensions in retrospect.

3rd axiom: Nothing can be taken for granted! Qualified from the two previous conditions. Social research results in the third axiom: the questioning of everything that is self-evident, which can be described as "de-self-evident" (alienation), is a first prerequisite for breaking away from the self-evident with regard to one's own constructions of reality. It is of elementary importance in relation to very different dimensions and phases of torment. Research process.

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