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Berger and Luckmann propose 3 steps in the social construction of reality

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  1. The first step in a creation of a reality
  2. Symbols and signs as norms
  3. The concept of living in community
  4. The norm for freshmen to live on campus
  5. My experience in the formation of my reality
  6. Conclusion

Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann discuss the social construction of reality in their work, The Social Construction of Reality, published in 1966. Reality, as defined by Berger and Luckmann, is a combination of norms (socially acceptable ways of acting and thinking) and institutionalized objects (Berger & Luckmann, intro). This construction of reality for each individual thus creates a societal reality. This differs between areas, as the authors quoted Blaine Pascal, ?What is truth on one side of the Pyrenees is error on the other.? (23). This total social reality is a conglomeration of many individual realities, and, according to the authors, there are three steps in which this individual reality is formed.

key words- social reality, Externalization, socially deviant,

[...] Living in dormitories took care of the ?group safety? concept. This was the objectification of the long time idea of community and group safety. Then, this became institutionalized by Shippensburg University (and many other institutions) by requiring freshmen to live on campus unless they can prove that they are living with their families. I was involved in this step because as a freshman (and throughout my college career), I lived on campus and went along with the institutionalization. In the transition from a family group (which was small and messy) to a community (which was large and messier), I found that the adjustment was hard. [...]


[...] I felt that it was a vital part of my college experience, and saw it as a normal thing, therefore being socialized into a thought process that this was and that the only way to fully experience my college career was to live in a dorm. Another big change that ?threw me back? into the externalization stage was moving between two very different dorms. I lived in McCune, the honors dorm which was separated by gender by door, and then something during my senior year possessed me to move into the all girls dorm, Harley Hall. [...]

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