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Disappearing Socks - Kayla Butler 203-706-009 Sociology...

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Kayla Butler 203-706-009 Sociology 132/Section 1E October 24, 2011 Disappearing Socks Have you ever began folding a load of laundry or opened up your sock drawer to find an individual sock missing its matching companion? How does this happen? Where did it go? When this occurs, you probably dig through the sock drawer, take another look in the hamper, check the washer and dryer and anywhere in between. Most of the time, you are likely to come across this sock in the process. But what about those times when the sock is gone? You know that you had it because you just wore it, and yet it is nowhere to be found. It has disappeared. It is safe to assume that you said something along the lines of, “I probably dropped it somewhere,” or, “It got up and walked away,” or even, “The dryer monster ate another one.” The last two, although possible responses, are ones you are very unlikely to believe. This is because the reality we live in says that inanimate objects cannot get up and walk away nor can they eat things. In addition, monsters in dryers do not exist. This anecdote is very common with any inanimate objects that we encounter. Jodi O’Brien gives the example of the pencil that can leave and reappear (p. 342). Since we tend to hold the “unquestioned belief regarding the immobility of ‘inanimate’ objects,” (O’Brien, p. 342), we live in a reality that recognizes the object constancy assumption (O’Brien, p. 366). Going back to the sock, we choose to disregard the fact that the sock has literally disappeared and in doing so, disregard the possibility of another reality. In general, concepts like this demonstrate our construction and maintenance of reality. When something occurs that does not fit our idea of reality, we make excuses to maintain it. In all, a “disappearing” sock is a concept that does not fit our reality.
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Growing up, we are socialized to learn what is considered “real”. Within American culture, like any other culture, we learn “a taken-for-granted system of knowledge [that] establishes boundaries about what is real, true, and right” (O’Brien, p. 7). These distinctions within our culture teach us to differentiate everything. For example, we learn what is edible and inedible, what is moral and immoral, what is serious and what is joking, and even what is a living being and what is an inanimate object (Zerubavel in O’Brien, p. 11). All too often we see babies put whatever they want into their mouths. Slowly, over time, and through the process of socialization and language learning, they are taught that they cannot eat Legos. You cannot tell a one-year-old that they cannot eat the Lego because it is inedible. They do not understand this because they have no concept of the definition of “inedible.” You cannot even say this to a four or five-year-old because they are still learning the language process. However, it is unlikely that a five-year-old will attempt to eat a Lego. That is because, although he may not know the word
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