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The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge Paperback – July 11, 1967
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"... 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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Berger himself is fluent in several languages. English is not his first language! Because of this language skill Berger is aware of "the linguistic shift that takes place in the nonverbal realm when moving from one language to another" as identified in by Bruce B. Lawrence in his book "Defenders of God." ISBN 0-06-250509-2. (See page 47 at the bottom for the quote. In other words, even from his youth, Berger could sense the way language change changes the way we sense the world. In other words, language is an "interpretive filter."
Note the word "sense" was used. It is more comprehensive than "understand."
“It will be enough, for our purposes, to define ‘reality’ as a quality appertaining to phenomena that we recognize as having a being independent of our own volition (we cannot ‘wish them away’), and to define ‘knowledge’ as the certainty that phenomena are real and that they possess specific characteristics.”
“It is our contention, then, that the sociology of knowledge must concern itself with whatever passes for ‘knowledge’ in a society, regardless of the ultimate validity or invalidity (by whatever criteria) of such ‘knowledge.’ And insofar as all human ‘knowledge’ is developed, transmitted and maintained in social situations, the sociology of knowledge must seek to understand the processes by which this is done in such a way that a taken-for-granted ‘reality’ congeals for the man in the street. In other words, we contend that the sociology of knowledge is concerned with the analysis of the social construction of reality.”
“The theoretical formulations of reality, whether they be scientific or philosophical or even mythological, do not exhaust what is ‘real’ for the members of a society. Since this is so, the sociology of knowledge must first of all concern itself with what people ‘know’ as ‘reality’ in their everyday, non- or pre-theoretical lives. In other words, commonsense ‘knowledge’ rather than ‘ideas’ must be the central focus for the sociology of knowledge. It is precisely this ‘knowledge’ that constitutes the fabric of meanings without which no society could exist.”
Two earlier writers on the sociology of knowledge cited by Berger and Luckmann are Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge and Werner Stark, The Sociology of Knowledge: Toward a Deeper Understanding of the History of Ideas.
Again, the work itself is controversial, but if you are a reader who has an open mind and suspects many aspects of the world are arbitrary, this is a good book for you.