Human Studies

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 51–69 | Cite as

The Common Denominator: The Reception and Impact of Berger and Luckmann’s The Social Construction of Reality

  • Hubert KnoblauchEmail author
  • René Wilke
Theoretical/Philosophical Paper


This paper discusses the reception and impact of Berger and Luckmann’s The Social Construction of Reality (SCR). The article will, first, address Berger and Luckmann themselves and their approach to the book (see section 1). In the next part, we will sketch the diffusion of the basic concept of the book (see section 2a). Then we want to show that the reception exhibits a particular open form, which allowed it to disperse into extremely different disciplines not only of the social sciences and the humanities (see section 2b). It is the disciplinary distance in particular that detaches the diffusion of the concept from reference to the book (see section 3). In the next part, we can see that this detachment leads to the variation of approaches to social construction (see section 4). Particularly, it is the misidentification with constructivism (see section 5) that leads to misunderstandings, which will then be clarified in contrast to our reconsideration of the basic thesis of SCR (see section 6). The conclusion (section 7) will state that Berger and Luckmann’s concept therefore constitutes the common denominator of social constructivist approaches.


Social construction Constructivism Constructionism Social theory Sociological theory 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TU BerlinBerlinGermany

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