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Ethnic and Anti-Oppression Mental Health Practice

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INTRODUCTION

The focus of social constructionism is to uncover the ways in which individuals and groups participate in the creation of their perceived reality. It involves looking at the ways social phenomena are created, institutionalized, and made into tradition by humans. Socially constructed reality is seen as an ongoing, dynamic process; reality is re-produced by people acting on their interpretations and their knowledge of it. Social phenomena include all behavior which influences or is influenced by organisms sufficiently alive to respond to one another. Behaviour refers to the actions or reactions of an object or organism, usually in relation to the environment. Behavior can be conscious or unconscious. Social constructionism can be seen as a source of the postmodern movement, and has been influential in the field of cultural studies. Some have gone so far as to attribute the rise of cultural studies (the cultural turn) to social constructionism.

Berger (1966) is perhaps best known for his view that social reality is a form of consciousness. Central to Berger's work is the relationship between society and the individual. In his book The Social Construction of Reality Berger develops a sociological theory: 'Society as Objective Reality and as Subjective Reality'. His analysis of society as subjective reality describes the process by which an individual's conception of reality is produced by his or her interaction with social structures. He writes about how new human concepts or inventions become a part of our reality (a process he calls reification)
Within the social constructionist strand of postmodernism, the concept of socially constructed reality stresses the on-going mass-building of worldviews by individuals in dialectical interaction with society at any time. The numerous realities so formed comprise, according to this view, the imagined worlds…...

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