I may or may not have been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer just now and there was a scene in a sociology class where they are talking about the social construction of reality. Look at all those eager hands up in the air! I couldn’t find a clip, but here’s a transcript. Can you follow what they are saying?  Do you think the Buffy writers got it right? Is this what Berger and Luckmann were saying?

BUFFY (PRE-LAP)
This is gonna be great…
INT. SOCIOLOGY CLASSROOM – MORNING

Buffy enters with Willow, amid a few other students flowing in and taking their seats. Buffy’s forcing positive energy.

BUFFY
I mean, I thought it might be weird
being back. And, it is, a little
but it’s a good kind of weird.WILLOW
(pointing)
Oh, there’s the teacher. Mike.MIKE, mid-thirties, a vaguely cool academic-type, puts down his knapsack and crosses to the blackboard.

WILLOW (O.S.)
You’ll like Mike.BUFFY
You call your teacher “Mike?” Wow.
School sure has changed since my day.ON MIKE, writing on the blackboard. NOTE: The class that follows operates BRISKLY, FAST PACED, emphasizing Buffy’s difficulty in keeping up. Mike writes the words:

MIKE
“Social Construction of Reality”
(turning to the class)
Who can tell me what that is?WIDE ON CLASS – Hands shoot up, including Willow’s.

ON BUFFY, looking around at the students eager to answer.

MIKE (cont’d)
Rachel?ON RACHEL, who answer quickly and confidently.

RACHEL
A concept involving a couple of
opposing theories. One stressing the
externality and independence of
social reality from individuals…ON MIKE, turning toward the rest of the class.

MIKE
And the flip side?ON BUFFY, taken aback as hands shoot up around her again.

MIKE (O.S.)
Steve?STEVE (O.S.)
That each individual participates
fully in the construction of his or
her own life.ON MIKE, picking up the pace.

MIKE
Good. Who can expand on that?HIGH ANGLE – EMPTY SPACE as raised hands fill the screen.

MIKE (cont’d)
Chuck.ON BUFFY, listening, watching, increasingly overwhelmed.

CHUCK (O.S.)
Well, those on the latter side of the
theoretical divide stress that social
reality is actively constructed and
restructured by individual actors.As he speaks, Buffy leans in to Willow and whispers.

BUFFY
Will, I’m not following this too well.WILLOW
The trick is to just get into the
rhythm, go with the flow.Her hand goes up.

BUFFY
Flow-going might be easier if your
classmates weren’t all big brains.WILLOW
Buffy, that’s ridiculous. They’re no
smarter than you or me.MIKE (O.S.)
Willow?

WILLOW
(answering a question)
Because social phenomena don’t have
unproblematic objective existences,
they have to be interpreted and given
meanings by those who encounter them.

ON MIKE, pointing.

MIKE
Nicely put. So, Ruby, does that mean
there are countless realities?ON WILLOW, pleased with herself, as she turns back to BUFFY who just looks at her.

WILLOW
(perplexed)
What?Buffy shakes her head and starts scribbling in her notebook.

WILLOW (cont’d)
That’s a good idea. Take notes.ANGLE ON BUFFY’S NOTEBOOK – She doodles a little stick figure.

MIKE (O.S.)
“Objective” measurement is actually
a social construction on the
subjective meanings ascribed by those
doing the measuring…BUFFY glances over at the notebook of the girl next to her.

ON GIRL’S NOTEBOOK – The girl is doodling a strikingly intricate design, with perspective shadings.

MIKE (cont’d; O.S.)
All knowledge of the world is a human
construction rather than a mirror of
some independent reality…ON BUFFY, giving up, as she RIPS her doodle drawing out other notebook and crumples it.

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