Social Construction

Lately we have focused a lot on social construction and how it plays a role in much of society around the world and from the past to today. In class we discussed that social construction is/are things that are real and we all agree they are real. In the open stax online, the chapter for Social Constructions of Reality mentions that Berger and Luckmann came up with the concept that society was created by habituation; repeated human interaction creating a pattern. This is true and another thing the chapter mentions is institutionalization which is implementing a norm into society, which sounds a lot like what I mentioned we had learned in class, that things are real and we all agree they are.

One of the bigger things that we talked about as being a part of social construction is status and role. As the chapter mentions and we discussed in class; status are recognized social positions and, roles are patterns or behaviors we recognize in others as being associated with their status. StatusesĀ  can be broken down into two kinds, ascribed (given by birth, assumed involuntary, or ones we do not select) and achieved (obtained by choice, effort, or ability). One person can take on more than one status and/or role and we often do in many situations. For instance I am a daughter (ascribed) to one person but at the same times I am also a girlfriend (achieved) to another person. As these statuses I also take on many roles per status known as a role-set. There are other things that can come with these statuses and roles such as role strain and role conflict. This is most commonly found when a person is being overtaken by to many roles in one status (role strain) or is conflicted with overlapping roles in different statuses (role conflict), either way for many it seems that there is just not enough time in the day.

The other large aspect of social construction that was mentioned both in class and in the book is presentation of the self. We all present ourselves differently in different situations as we have talked about before, and similarly we present ourselves to the world in a certain way, this is how we express our statuses and roles. Goffman mentions that we are all like actors on stage using different costumes (appearances), props (materials we carry), and manners (behaviors) to portray our roles. We also must use impression management so we can present ourselves how we think others view us and so that in a sense everyone knows their role and there is no confusion or conflict.


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