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.

Making Sense of Reality: Perception as Action

Making Sense of Reality: Perception as Action

To speak about realities – multiple, contrary – as they are enacted is, perhaps inevitably, to speak about the links between perception, culture and practice in real-time social situations. Indeed, perception is reconfigured within this perspective as yet another form of practice – the production of attention – linked to and mutually determining of culture. As Mack and Rock, the authors of Inattentional Blindness, put it (recall this concept was discussed in Chapter 1 via the ‘gorilla’ study of Simons and Chabris, 1999), ‘there seems to be no conscious perception without attention’ (Mack and Rock, 1998: ix, emphasis in original).

Mack and Rock suggest that conscious perception arises from meaningful framing such that the swirling, and potentially multiply-meaningful, mess of stimuli come to ...

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