THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY Module V:
Definition of A Situation When we observe something (a photograph, a person, an interaction) what we see and how we define it is shaped by past experiences. Before people respond or take action there is a fleeting moment during which people consciously or unconsciously deliberate about the meaning of the situation.
Thomas Theorem The idea that if situations are defined as real “they are real in their consequences .” People’s behavior can be determined by their subjective construction of reality, rather than by objective reality. If someone receives a social “label” such as athlete, class clown or something else, they may feel they have to live up to that role set even if it is not within their original character.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy A false definition of a situation assumed to be accurate. Occurs when people assign false definitions to a situation. People behave as if the false definition is true, which can cause the false definition to become true. Merton’s bank parable.
Dispositional and Situational Factors Attribution Theory: Examines the process by which people explain their behavior and the behavior of others according to two types of factors. Dispositional factors: things people are believed to control. Effort Motivation Situational factors: things believed to be outside a person’s control. Weather Bad luck
Attributing Cause to Behavior People tend to attribute their own failures to situational factors, while the failures of others are attributed to dispositional factors.
Attribution Theory & A.I.D.S. Many theories about the spread of HIV/AIDS rely solely on dispositional factors. Cultural practices leading to the consumption of diseased meat A more complete theory takes situational factors into account. European colonization and brutalization
Dramaturgical Sociology: “Life as Theater” Emphasizes the ways in which individuals within social interactions work to create, maintain, dismantle, and present a shared understanding of reality.
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- Spring '17
- Sociology, situational factors, People’s behavior