• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

What is reality and how do we make sense of it in everyday life? Why do some realities seem more real than others, and what of seemingly contradictory and multiple realities? This book considers reality as we represent, perceive and experience it. It suggests that the realities we take as ‘real’ are the result of real-time, situated practices that draw on and draw together many things - technologies and objects, people, gestures, meanings and media. Examining these practices illuminates reality (or rather our sense of it) as always ‘virtually real’, that is simplified and artfully produced. This examination also shows us how the sense of reality that we make is nonetheless real in its consequences. Making Sense of Reality offers students and educators a guide to analysing social life. It develops a performance-based perspective (‘doing things with’) that highlights the ever-revised dimension of realities and links this perspective to a focus on object-relations and an ecological model of culture-in-action.

Variations in Space and Time
Variations in Space and Time

So far, I have been speaking about ‘culture’ as if it were some stable entity, with boundaries around it and inflecting action and experience. But culture is, arguably, not that kind of thing; rather culture’s own reality is more ambiguous, and more variable, more permeable and uncertain. In this chapter I consider the variability of cultural realities, over space and time. For, not only do cultural categories and practices vary geographically (nations, territories and regions, communities, groups, urban areas, tribes), they also vary temporally, both historically and micro-temporally in real-time, lived experience. There are and have been, in other words, many senses of reality. To introduce this theme, we can do no better than turn to the work of Mary Douglas and her focus on ...

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