6. What do sociologists mean by “social construction of reality”? How does the idea of social construction bring into question certain elements of everyday life, like gender roles? The social construction of reality is the idea that something is real, meaningful, or valuable when society tells us it is. For example, in first world countries childhood is widely looked upon as a developmental period, whereas in other countries it is expected that children contribute to the family financially and they are forced to mature faster as a result. Similarly, men and women are told to act a particular way by society, which expects them to act that way. As a result, both genders get an idea of what is expected of their gender and fit into it. 7. Let’s imagine you use file-sharing networks for music downloading and to discuss your favorite music subgenres with people throughout the world. How does this differ from, for example, speaking only with employees at your local music store? Think about the way technology affects how you interact, the characteristics of the people with whom you’re interacting, and how different ways of interacting might affect socialization. Technology allows people to interact with others who are thousands of miles away. It helps breed a merging of cultures, as different groups interact with people from other groups and humanity can be united. Other stuff from Chapter 4: - The process by which you learn how to become a functioning member of society is called socialization. - To function as fully adult members of society, we need to be able to recognize that other people have wants, needs, and desires that are sometimes similar to and sometimes different from our own. Thus, imitation, play, and games are important components of childhood development. When a child imitates, he or she is just starting to learn to recognize an other. They can then advance to play, according to Mead. During play, children are able to make a distinction between the self and the other. Children move beyond play to formal games. Games involve a more complex understanding of multiple roles; you must recognize and anticipate what many other players are going to do in a given situation. It takes an understanding of the other to coordinate passing: You have to consider where to place the ball and calculate whether your
teammate can make it to that spot in time for the pass to occur. Games involve a sophisticated understanding of the various positions others can occupy—they require a theory of social behavior, knowing how others are likely to react to different situations. We have learned to anticipate these behaviors from repeated experience in the context of a particular sort of constrained social interaction. - Infants only know the I—that is, one’s sense of agency, action, or power. Through social interaction, however, they learn the me —that is, the self as a distinct object to be perceived by others (and by the I). - Eventually, a child learns the concept of the Other-- that is, someone or something outside of oneself.
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