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Identity and Reality

Introduction

Table of Contents

Social Construction of Reality

There is no single, true universal reality. What is “real” differs from person to person, based on one’s own ideas, circumstances, and knowledge. For example, a boy with a strict, stern father may not be happy when the father comes home. He may even try to avoid his father as much as possible. A boy with a more lenient and supportive father will be happy to see him and will eagerly seek his company. The reality of “father” for each of the boys, based on their social interactions, is quite different.

Each individual in a society has his or her own perceptions of reality, and that perception has a lot to do with social status. For example, in cultures where women have few legal rights and are not allowed to work outside the home, a wife may think she has a “good husband” simply because he does not beat her and allows her some freedom in pursuing her own interests. A wife working outside the home in an industrialized society may think she has a “bad husband” because he does not do enough housework. The way we create our own identities depends on how we create reality.

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