Social Construction of Reality
- The social construction of reality refers to the theory that the way we
present ourselves to others is shaped by our interactions with others.
- The Thomas Theorem posits that if a person perceives a situation as
real, it is real in its consequences. People will act according to how they perceive a person
or a situation.
- Ethnomethodology, as founded by Harold Garfinkel, looks at
how people make sense out of everyday situations by examining their background
- Erving Goffman developed dramaturgy, the theory that all
social life is like a drama or play in which everyone plays a role.
- Goffman coined the term impression management to refer to our desire to
manipulate others’ impressions of us.
- To manage impressions, we use three sign vehicles: setting,
appearance, and manner.
- People also manage impressions by managing their personal space, the
immediate area surrounding their body.
- Social status is the position that we occupy in a particular setting.
- Status symbols are obvious signs or symbols of a respective status. They
can be positive or negative.
- Status inconsistency occurs when a person occupies one or more statuses
that do not usually coincide in a single person.
- Master status overrides all other statuses and is the one by which we
are first known to others. For many people, their occupation is their master status.
- Stigma is Goffman’s term for a trait or characteristic we possess that
causes us to lose prestige in others’ eyes.
- When stigma is permanent or severe, it can result in spoiled identity.
People think negatively of those with spoiled identities.
- One way to deal with people with spoiled identities is through a degradation
ceremony, a ritual designed to expel a person from a group.