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The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge Paperback – July 11, 1967


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 219 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (July 11, 1967)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385058985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385058988
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"... A major breakthrough in the  sociology of knowledge." -- American  Sociological Review.

From the Publisher

This book reformulates the sociological subdiscipline known as the sociology of knowledge. Knowledge is presented as more than ideology, including as well false consciousness, propaganda, science and art. "... A major breakthrough in the sociology of knowledge." -- American Sociological Review.

More About the Author

Peter L. Berger (Boston, MA) is University Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, at Boston University and the founder and Senior Research Fellow of the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs. He has written numerous books on sociological theory, the sociology of religion, and Third World development. Among his more recent books are In Praise of Doubt (with Anton Zijderveld); Religious America, Secular Europe? (with Grace Davie and Effie Fokas); Questions of Faith; Many Globalizations (edited with Samuel Huntington); and Redeeming Laughter: The Comic Dimension of Human Experience. Professor Berger has received honorary degrees from Loyola University, University of Notre Dame, University of Geneva, University of Munich, Sofia University, and Renmin University of China.

Customer Reviews

This book should be considered absolutely required reading for anyone studying sociology or psychology, or anything else.
Roland
Hegel was laying much of the ground work (and there are lots of excellent books that explain why that is) but Hegel is notoriously difficult.
W. Jamison
Human culture, produced by institutions, replaces instincts so well that culture is taken for granted as the same as our physical nature.
Wayne C. Lusvardi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

303 of 312 people found the following review helpful By Wayne C. Lusvardi on August 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge is one of the most significant books of social science ever written - ranking with and beyond Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Emile Durkheim's Suicide, and more recently Walter Truett Anderson's more popularized take off of it entitled Reality Isn't What It Use To Be (1990). It has spawned a whole new cross-disciplinary school of social science - social constructionism. Originally written in 1967, the book was way ahead of its time with what now is called "postmodernism;" although neither of the author's views necessarily fit this term. In the arts and humanities, it resonates with the philosophy of 17th century Italian philosopher Giambatista Vico's book New Science ("the true and the made are convertible"), with the plays of Italian Luigi Pirandello (Right You Are If You Say You Are and Six Stories in Search of an Author), and with novelists Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Divine Inquisitor) and Robert Musil (A Man Without Qualities).
The sociology of knowledge a la Berger and Luckmann is not about the history of ideas, the economic origin of ideologies, the social process of education, the study of intellectuals, religious Gnostics, or secret societies, or social theories per se. Rather, the intriguing concern of the authors is what they call everyday knowledge or common sense knowledge that is constructed at different levels of society all the way from language, to family history and memories, to children's folk tales, proverbs, and legends, to workplace and professional ideologies, to formal theories and paradigms, and finally to what they call symbolic universes or over-arching world views.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Dan Jackson on September 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
I enjoy these dense books of ideas, but rarely come away from them as fulfilled and enlightened as I came away from this one. Building on the premise that most (if not all)of the knowledge we have, both objective and subjective, comes from the society we live in, the authors examine how knowledge forms and how it is maintained and modified by the institutions that embody it and individuals who embrace it. It gives a scientific grounding to the symbiotic relationship between an individual and his or her community. The book is scholarly, but accessable, with frequent commonplace examples to shed light on the ideas. And it is delightfully brief and to the point, with laudably little of philosophical tedium and academic backbiting that often weighs down such works
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72 of 81 people found the following review helpful By wildbill on November 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the second most influential book I have ever read. It influenced me because It showed me how one could deduce from everyday experience how humans create realities and have faith that their realities are real.
Read this book if you would like to understand what people mean when they tell you that something is socially constructed. Many college students and columnists act like "social construction" is a flaky or absurd contention, but once you read this book and understand what Berger and Luckmann are arguing, you will not be able to disagree with their major points.
Nevertheless, this is not an easy read. You have to think along with the authors, put down the book and ponder their examples, and otherwise participate in the classic.
That's a lot of work, but it will change your life!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Colin Stahl on June 8, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've always been passionately against books that are written in the most dry and academic manner, so I was a bit scared of this book to begin with, but it proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable (and educational, of course) read. My brain isn't very receptive of books that use lots of big words and fancy ideas, but the authors here have managed to construct this treatise with unbelievable clarity for the what they present, and also very often successfully implement a vein of humor. If you have any of the slightest interest in the topic, don't be scared of how academic and foreboding it may seem to the casual reader, as it is not as bad as it looks and very much so worth the effort!
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By W. Jamison VINE VOICE on February 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
I would like to add my voice to those who list this book as among the most important they have read. As for many, this book marked a turning point in my college education. Berger's "Invitation to Sociology" was a required text for my Intro to Soc course but that book led me to Construction. I was a philosophy major and reading about Hegel at the time. The coincidence of reading Hegel and Berger turned on a light for me. They both explained one another. Hegel was laying much of the ground work (and there are lots of excellent books that explain why that is) but Hegel is notoriously difficult. Berger's contemporary vocabulary opened my eyes to a successful interpretation of Hegel. Reading Berger was contemporary English instead of translated early 19th century German. At least it was contemporary for me at the time (early 70s). Today there are many phrases students will recognize as politically incorrect -- Berger was writing for a male academic audience. This is a shame since students do find it difficult and the additional discovery of sexist language adds insult to what may very well be viewed as injury. This book will enter a student into reflective thinking stage 6 and so causes all the depressing introspection that will go with that among the bright students. Which brings up a dilemma. Hegel was very positive. Rorty suggests that what he did was replace knowledge with hope. Agreed! While Berger is not clearly negative, there is no positive emphasis. As a result I always feel an obligation to encourage a positive approach to the powerfulness of this world view.
My collection of Berger books occupies a highly esteemed shelf in my library.
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