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Social Construction of Reality Essay

Social construct of reality is defined as what people perceive and understand as reality is a creation of the social interaction of individuals and groups. What this means is the environment we surround ourselves in molds our perception of reality. How we were raised and what we were raised to believe affect how we present ourselves, how we perceive others, how other perceive us, and how we react.

For example “How Beer Saved the World” tries to convince you that beer not only changed the world throughout the course of history, but also saved it and provides a convincing argument as to why. The Salem witch trials are another example of a social construct because the community created their own beliefs that there were demonic possessions and used this as an explanation for anything peculiar that happened. In short, our perceptions of reality are colored by our beliefs and backgrounds.

As with all social constructs it begins with a grain of truth that the whole reality is based off of. In the Salem witch-hunts, four young girls were experimenting with supernatural practices that were already looked down upon. Their actions created a panic in the community that led to the hunts and execution of innocent victims. In “How Beer Saved the World” bases its whole argument on the idea that major innovations were started because of the want for beer such as the invention of the plow, wheel, irrigation, math, and the written language.

Similarities can be drawn between the witch-hunt and beer because of whom the construct was created by. Witch-hunt paranoia was created by the Puritan community and created a feasible explanation as to why there was abnormal behavior. The social construct of beer is supported by well respected professors with doctorates and specialization in their particular fields; whether it be anthropology, food science, archeology, fermentation, assyriology, or history.

Both social constructs have well thought out arguments that support their claims and convince people to buy into their reality. The witch-hunts had a single incident that started the basis of the hysteria. The tests they put women through along with a social need for answers kept the panic going. “How Beer Saved the World” uses credible sources made by intelligent, authoritative individuals that not many would think to question.

The video even walks the viewer through a scientific experiment that proves pond water can be cleaned by the beer brewing process. People construct these false realities because they satisfy a want and a need for answers that are simple and easy to process. Interaction with others with the same beliefs strengthens people’s own beliefs and creates a sense of validity. People like the fact that they have an explanation and solid reasoning behind their beliefs and will often construe facts to fit their particular mold.


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