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The social construction of consciousness: Part 1: Collective consciousness and its socio-cultural foundations

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  • Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
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The social construction of consciousness: Part 1: Collective consciousness and its socio-cultural foundations

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This paper outlines, from a sociological and social psychological perspective, a theoretical framework with which to define and analyse consciousness, emphasizing the importance of language, collective representations, conceptions of self, and self-reflectivity in understanding human consciousness. It argues that the shape and feel of consciousness is heavily social, and this is no less true of our experience of collective consciousness than it is of our experience of individual consciousness. The paper is divided into two parts. Part One argues that the problem of consciousness can be approached fruitfully by beginning with human group and collective phenomena: community, language, language-based communication, institutional and cultural arrangements, collective representations, self-conceptions, and self-referentiality. A collective is understood as a group or population of individuals (or collective agents as members) that possesses or develops collective representations of itself: its values and goals, its structure and modes of operating, its strategies, developments, strengths and weaknesses, etc. Collective reflectivity emerges as a function of an organization or group producing and making use of collective representations of the self (‘we’, our group, community, organization, nation) in its discussions, critical reflections, and planning. A collective monitors its activities, achievements and failures, and reflects on itself as a defined and on-going collective being. In this perspective, human consciousness is understood as a type of reflective activity: observing, monitoring, judging and re-orienting and re-organizing self; considering what characterizes the self, what self perceives, judges, could do, should do (or should not do). The reflectivity is encoded in language and developed in conversations about collective (as well as individual) selves. Part Two of the paper applies the framework to analysing the individual experience of consciousness, self-representation, self-reference, self-reflectivity and self-development.
THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS1
Part 1: Collective Consciousness and Its Socio-Cultural Foundations
Tom R. Burns, Uppsala Theory Circle, Department of Sociology
PO Box 821, University of Uppsala, SE-751 08 Uppsala, SWEDEN.
E-mail: tom.burns@soc.uu.se
Erik Engdahl, Department of Quantum Chemistry, PO Box 518, University of
Uppsala, SE-751 20 Uppsala, SWEDEN.
E-mail: engdahl@kvac.uu.se Web: http://www.kvac.uu.se/~engdahl/ .
Abstract: This paper outlines, from a sociological and social psychological perspective, a
theoretical framework with which to define and analyse consciousness, emphasizing the
importance of language, collective representations, conceptions of self, and self-reflectivity
in understanding human consciousness. It argues that the shape and feel of consciousness is
heavily social, and this is no less true of our experience of collective consciousness than it is
of our experience of individual consciousness. The paper is divided into two parts. Part One
argues that the problem of consciousness can be approached fruitfully by beginning with
human group and collective phenomena: community, language, language-based communica-
tion, institutional and cultural arrangements, collective representations, self-conceptions, and
self-referentiality. A collective is understood as a group or population of individuals (or
collective agents as members) that possesses or develops collective representations of itself:
its values and goals, its structure and modes of operating, its strategies, developments,
strengths and weaknesses, etc. Collective reflectivity emerges as a function of an organization
or group producing and making use of collective representations of the self (‘we’, our group,
community, organization, nation) in its discussions, critical reflections, and planning. A
collective monitors its activities, achievements and failures, and reflects on itself as a defined
and on-going collective being. In this perspective, human consciousness is understood as a
type of reflective activity: observing, monitoring, judging and re-orienting and re-organizing
self; considering what characterizes the self, what self perceives, judges, could do, should do
(or should not do). The reflectivity is encoded in language and developed in conversations
about collective (as well as individual) selves. Part Two of the paper applies the framework
to analysing the individual experience of consciousness, self-representation, self-reference,
self-reflectivity and self-development.
I: Introduction and Overview
Understanding consciousness is a major challenge of our time. Leading natural
scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, cognitive psychologists, and computer sci-
entists, among others, address questions and issues relating to various phenomena
grouped under the label of ‘consciousness’. In this flurry of activity engaging a wide
spectrum of different researchers and research approaches, it is not surprising that
there is considerable confusion in terminology, perspectives, and methods (Baars and
Banks, 1992; Sommerhoff, 1996). While some consider consciousness as an emer-
gent psychological phenomenon, not reducible to physical processes, others claim it
to be entirely explainable in physical and physiological terms; some go so far as to
Journal of Consciousness Studies, 5, No. 1, 1998, pp. 67–85
1 An earlier version of this paper was presented at the conference, Toward a Science of Conscious-
ness 1996, at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA, April 8–13, 1996. We want to
particularly thank Michael Bell, Anthony Freeman, Joseph Goguen, Hans Joas, Mohammadrafi
Mahmoodian, Nora Machado, Vesela Misheva, Irina Sandomirskaja, Herbert Simons, Pablo Suarez,
Caroline Sutton, and two anonymous reviewers for comments and suggestions on earlier versions
of the paper.
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claim it does not exist, and, therefore, consciousness does not need to be explained
(although various mental processes are to be explained). A general problem is that
researchers in a wide range of different disciplines address problems of conscious-
ness, with their own distinct concepts, explanatory mechanisms, and methods.
What is particularly striking about this new industry is the absence of sociology.
This is surprising since a leading philosopher and sociological thinker, George
Herbert Mead (1934; 1956), provided major insights into the formation of mind,
concepts of self and other, and the internalization of society in individual social
beings, viewing these as emerging out of human interaction and communication
(Buckley, 1996; Wiley, 1994). This paper brings such a sociological and social
psychological perspective to bear on several key aspects of consciousness, and in
doing so inverts explanation: starting from collective phenomena we end up analys-
ing individual consciousness.2 The aim is to focus on social dimensions of the
experience of consciousness, and to propose a theoretical language for conceptualiz-
ing those dimensions. This approach provides new angles of attack on a number of
phenomena and enables us to conceptualize several key properties of consciousness,
in particular the use of collectively shared concepts and representations, and the role
of self-referential dialogues in group and individual consciousness.
The paper describes, analyses, and explains different types and levels of conscious-
ness, collective as well as individual, drawing upon and integrating into the theoreti-
cal discussion a selection of some of the relevant work in sociology and social
psychology.3 A basic premise here is that human consciousness is, above all, a type
of reflective activity (observing, monitoring, judging ‘self’, among other things) that
is encoded in language, and generated in conversations about collective and individ-
ual ‘selves’: for example, about what characterizes self, what self perceives, thinks,
decides, does, could do, should do, etc. The approach makes use of two key concepts
with which to explain significant consciousness phenomena: namely, collective
representations and reflectivity, both of which are language based. Our intent is not
to provide a total theory of consciousness, but rather to present and analyse some of
its major social aspects.
First, a note of clarification. ‘Consciousness’ is typically an ‘umbrella term’ for a
variety of different phenomena, and so cannot be considered a precise concept. For
our purposes here, it is essential to distinguish various states of awareness from
reflectivity, which is, in our view, consciousness proper. Chalmers (1995) and others
rightly make the point that there is a phenomenological side to the functional,
operative, physical processes of brain activity. But from our perspective his two-level
model can be extended to at least a three-level model:
2 In making this inversion, we do not totally reject mechanistic and reductionist approaches — nor
deny their value in identifying the ‘hardware’ on which collective and social psychological proc-
esses operate — and we fully recognize the biological and bio-physical bases of human life. But we
reject the idea that a complete explanation can be formulated on the basis of underlying physical,
chemical, neurological, hormonal, or psychological factors and processes. These approaches cannot
be relied on entirely, because they focus on the wrong levels and the wrong factors with which to
explain some of the most mysterious and paradoxical features of consciousness. For a critique of
reductionism from the perspective even of modern physics and biology see Morowitz (1981).
3 Among others, Alker (1996); Bateson (1972; 1980); Beck et al. (1994); Berger & Luckmann (1967);
Buckley (1996); Burns et al. (1985); Burns and Flam (1987); Coulter (1979); Durkheim (1965);
Durkheim and Mauss (1963); Giddens (1990; 1991); Goffman (1974); Harré and Gillet (1994); Joas
(1996); Mead (1934; 1956); Powell and DiMaggio (1991); Schutz (1962); Wiley (1994).
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS: PART 1 68
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physical or material processes (biological, neurophysiological, perceptual,
cognitive processes, much of which operates outside human awareness and
reflection);
sentience and phenomenological processes, to which the term awareness is
appropriate;
socially based cognitions, representations, and reflective processes (based on
language, collective representations and the capabilities of discursive reflec-
tion).
Thus awareness and consciousness are analytically distinguished. Awareness con-
cerns a focusing on or attention to an object including the state or situation of one’s
own group. Consciousness proper refers to processes entailing self-reflection (that is,
a type of awareness of awareness or meta-awareness).4
The types of human activity on which we focus in this paper then are particular
language-based processes of communication, representation and reflection. For ex-
ample, through purely linguistic means, the world of phenomena can be separated
into two orders of being: agents and causes on the one hand, acts and effects on the
other. The human phenomenological world can then be populated with a host of
agents and agencies, many of which may be invisible (even fictive) and presumed to
exist behind it. In this way a collective consciousness may be endowed with the
particular conceptual categories (agents, causes, spirits, essences) defined as neces-
sary for theology, science, and philosophy as forms of advanced reflection
(White,1973, p. 35; also see Alker, 1996, p. 218). Thus, in science and the professions
as well as in everyday life the basic categories of thought — for example, the
categories and classification schemes found in any science — are socially generated
(although their institutionalization and replication may be based on considerable
empirical and logical testing or evidence). In general, the ‘binding’ quality of values
and their symbols — truth, beauty, and goodness — comes from the power of
collective consciousness (Wiley, 1986b, p. 4). Symbols and symbol systems, both
their form and content — which each individual learns and carries — are derived
from society or social institutions (this was a major insight of the pioneer sociologist,
Emile Durkheim). Without such social ‘forces,’ the individual’s intra-psychic expe-
rience would be semantically emptied and deprived of its strong sense of validity (or
also, in other cases, a strong sense of little or no validity)(Wiley, 1986b, p. 4).
From its sociological point of departure, the paper advances and discusses four
arguments:
(1) A cultural cognitive frame carried by the members of a community provides
common knowledge: conceptions, definitions, meanings, and practices that are not
only the basis for inter-subjectivity but the basis for collective discourse and reflec-
tion on, for example, the collective self considered as an object.
(2) Human groups (as well as individuals) have the capacity to acquire types of
self-description, and self-knowledge and to reflect on and regulate themselves. An
agent-subject becomes the object not only of her own awareness but the awareness
4 Although we distinguish consciousness from awareness in this way, the two are easily confused,
or defined differently. Some see awareness as a type of process where various types of information
are made directly available for more global or integrated processing (e.g. Sommerhoff, 1996).
69 T.R. BURNS AND E. ENGDAHL
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itself may become for her an object of higher order reflection and judgment.5
Reflectivity, as a type (in our view the major defining type) of consciousness, is based
on a shared code, a particular language, collective representations, and capabilities
and skills of representing and talking about ‘self’ and its various activities, including
its inner states and processes, and changes in these.
(3) Self-reference — in processes of reflectivity — entails a collectivity conceptual-
izing and reflecting on its values and goals, its conceptual framework, its organiza-
tion, its repertoire of strategies and practices, assessing these and possibly adapting
or transforming them. Such processes are institutionalized in modern societies in the
form of social science research, mass media reporting and discussions, and political
discourse and are central to critical and transformative processes.
(4) Individual ‘selves’ are conceptualized in a group or collective and made objects
of observation, discourse, and judgment through group interactions and conversa-
tions. Individuals learn to apply linguistically based collective representations to
themselves. They also engage in collective discussions with others about themselves
— talking about themselves, giving and hearing accounts of themselves; they learn
to engage in internal conversations about themselves. In such ways, collective
concepts, structures, and processes are incorporated into the inner life of each
individual as a social being and actor. Individual consciousness implies the encoding
of collective representations of ‘self’ and ‘other’ and the capacity to reflect on
feelings, cognitions, dilemmas and predicaments, actions and interactions involving
self. Moreover, it implies the acquired capacity to manipulate collective repre-
sentations, symbols, and concepts and to conduct reflective activity, in part through
carrying on inner dialogues. A subclass of all inner dialogues are manifestly self-
referential. The activity of talking about and reflecting upon oneself, while socially
generated, becomes an individual, subjective experience.
Section II below argues that the ‘hard problem of consciousness’— in Chalmers’
(1995) formulation — can be approached systematically by focusing on the collective
basis and manifestations of consciousness.6 This task calls for several basic tools for
describing and analysing collective phenomena, namely cultural and institutional
concepts. These are grounded in systems of rules and symbols, which play a central
role in structuring and regulating human thought and action. This excursion may be
tedious for some, but is essential to the task of establishing conceptual tools with
which to define and analyse collective agents as well as collective representation and
reflectivity (section III). Section III ends with a simple model of the levels and objects
of collective consciousness (Table 1). Section IV concludes Part One of the paper.
5 On the style or importance of reflective thought, even in the case of the physical sciences, see
Morowitz (1981), e.g. p. 41, which stresses the role in modern physics of the observer and the
interaction of subjective and objective factors.
6 Chalmers (1995) defined ‘the hard problem of consciousness’ as the problem of experience:
When we think and perceive, there is a whirl of information-processing, but there is also a
subjective aspect. . . . Why should physical processing give rise to a rich inner life at all? It
seems objectively unreasonable that it should, and yet it does (p. 201).
Why is it, he asks, that the processing of information does not go into the dark without any subjective
quality, or awareness.
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS: PART 1 70
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II: General Perspective on Culture and Institutions and Their Role in
Structuring and Regulating Human Thought and Action
A basic premise of much sociology is that human social activity including reflection
— in all of its extraordinary variety — is organized and regulated by socially
produced and reproduced rules and systems of rules (Burns and Flam, 1987).7 A
system of social rules is defined and understood within a particular collectivity. For
our purposes, such a system can be assumed to be more or less shared by the members
of the collectivity. The rules and procedures are applied in constituting, organizing,
and regulating group relationships and activities. The processes of making, interpret-
ing, and implementing social rules as well as reformulating and transforming rules
are universal in human societies. In this perspective, social rules are not transcenden-
tal abstractions but are embodied in groups and collectivities of people, their cultural
forms, institutions, and practices: language, customs and codes of conduct, norms,
laws, and the social institutions such as family, community, economic organization,
and government.
On the macro-level of culture and institutional arrangements, one refers to rule
systems or rule system complexes.8 A culture can be understood as a complex of rule
and symbol systems shared by members of a particular social population (Burns and
Dietz, 1992b; 1997). On the actor level, one may identify particular role grammars,9
norms and collective procedures (for example, procedures of order, turntaking, and
voting in committees and democratic bodies), and, in general, the practical ‘rules of
the game’. Actors use available rules of conduct to produce as well as to interpret and
to understand actions and interactions as meaningful.
Social rule systems are not only potential constraints or limitations on action and
interaction possibilities. They provide opportunities for social actors to behave in
ways that would otherwise be impossible — for instance, through rule governed
procedures and institutional arrangements, to coordinate with others, to collectively
mobilize and to gain systematic access to strategic resources, to command and
allocate substantial human and physical resources, and to solve complex social
problems by organizing particular collective strategies and processes.
Human actors or agents are conceptualized in this approach as makers and users of
rules and symbols, propagating, interpreting, and transforming them. Individual and
7 Rules and rule systems are key concepts in several theoretical traditions: among others, the new
institutionalism (March and Olsen, 1984; North, 1990; Ostrom, 1990; Powell and DiMaggio, 1991;
Scott,1995), cultural theory (Douglas, 1966;1987); evolutionary sociology (Aldrich, 1979; Dietz et
al., 1990; Burns and Dietz, 1992; 1997b; Schmid and Wuketits, 1987), ethnomethodology (Gar-
finkel, 1967; Suchman, 1987), and philosophy (Wittgenstein, 1953; Searle, 1995) as well as
linguistics (Chomsky, 1980; 1986; Pinker, 1991). While there is a general recognition among these
various developments of the importance of rules in social life, they differ in several fundamental
ways, for instance, those who stress as the ethnomethodologists the fact that rules are achieved or
produced in practice (what Andersen and Burns (1992) and Burns et al. (1997) refer to as ‘organic
rule formation’) as opposed to those that emphasize that rules are often given or legislated in advance
of action.
8 Rules cannot be put together in purely ad hoc ways. They are organized into rule complexes or
rule systems (Burns and Flam, 1987; Burns et al., 1997). These consist of sets of context-dependent
and time-specific rules that organize perception, evaluation and judgment, and social action and
interaction.
9 There are not only role grammars but semantics and pragmatics.
71 T.R. BURNS AND E. ENGDAHL
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collective agents thus play an important part in the formation and evolution of social
rule systems, although not always in the ways they expected or intended. Experience
(and practice) enable actors to accumulate situational knowledge and skills useful in
implementing and adapting or reforming rules in concrete interaction settings. Ac-
tors, in deviating from established rules or in introducing new rules, may encounter
resistance from others, setting the stage for the exercise of power to enforce rules,
struggles, and negotiation of and possible change in rules. Such behaviour explains
much cultural and institutional dynamics (Burns and Dietz, 1997a; 1997b).10
Social actors try by means of particular, historically and culturally conditioned rule
systems to impose order on the world. Actors experience pressures and opportunities
to adjust, adapt, reformulate and reform their organizing principles and rules (Burns
and Dietz, 1997b). Reality tends to be changing, unstable, ‘talking back’, disor-
derly.11 Social situations are always in flux and continually challenge human efforts
to regulate and to maintain order. Not only does the world change and make rule
implementation problematic (even in the case of systems that previously were highly
effective and robust); but rules never specify action and regulate reality fully or
thoroughly (even in the case of the most elaborate rituals and ceremonial settings).
Implementation of rules — and the maintenance of some order — always calls for
cumulative experience, adjustment, adaptation, etc. There is a continual interplay, or
dialectic if you will, between the regulated and the unregulated (Lotman, 1975; Burns
et al., 1997).
A major type of rule system are social institutions. They provide a systematic basis
for actors’ intersubjectivity, organized activities, and collective reflectivity. An insti-
tution can be conceptualized as an authoritative rule system or rule regime that
organizes and regulates social activities in its domain of applicability, whether an
administration, market, or family. Each institution constitutes and regulates key
institutional relationships, systems of power and authority, positions and roles, norms
and organizing principles, values, and ‘rules of the game’ in its domain of applica-
tion: for example, in connection with collectively constructing and operating the
social order of an administrative agency, a modern market, or family. It defines the
actors that must or may (or may not) take part in the interactions — namely, the
legitimate or appropriate participants in the domain, who should do what, when,
where, and how, and in relation to whom, thus specifying actors rights and obligations
vis-à-vis one another, including rules of command and obedience, and their access to
and control over human and material resources.
10 The concepts of social rule and rule system cover a wide spectrum: law, norm, value, belief or
predisposition, custom, convention, and tradition. For instance, prescriptive rules including norms
are only one type of social rule. Social actors also utilize categorization and representational rules
as well as evaluative rules in their judgments and determinations of action. Moreover, there are
norms of various types, as suggested by everyday distinctions between moral principles, constitu-
tional laws, statutes, administrative rules and informal norms. Social rule systems which are the basis
for major organizing social institutions and backed by sanctions are referred to as rule regimes. The
organizing principles and core rules of these systems are authoritative, in that there is a high proba-
bility of systematic sanctioning. Consideration of the theory of rules and rule systems would take us
far beyond the topic of this paper (see Burns & Flam, 1987; Burns & Dietz, 1997a; Burns et al., 1997).
11 In part, this is because social rules only partially determine action and interaction. Ecological and
physical factors as well as human agency always play a role in the concrete implementation and
realization processes.
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS: PART 1 72
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The rule system of any given institutional domain also provides a basis for
knowledgeable actors to interpret, understand and make sense of what goes on in the
domain. Among other things, it specifies to a greater or lesser extent the socially
shared classifications, definitions, scripts, schemes, and discourses that are right and
proper within the domain (Powell and DiMaggio, 1991, p. 13). It provides in
particular common, institutionally relevant labels, terms, and names to objects (acts,
events, developments, persons, attitudes, value orientations, tools, and technologies).
In general, any given institution contributes to organizing actors’ perceptions in the
given institutional setting or domain. Common rules provide an intersubjective and
collective basis for members of a group or collectivity to answer a number of key
questions such as the following: what is going on in this situation; what kind of
activity is this; what are the things being done; why are these things being done; who
is who and who must do or can do what; what are their positions or relations to one
another? (Burns and Flam, 1987; Goffman, 1974; Harré and Gillett, 1994, pp. 20 ff.)
The participating actors — as well as knowledgeable observers — can understand in
intersubjective, meaningful ways the situation and, in a certain sense, predict what
will happen in the interactions on the basis of common knowledge of the relevant
rules (hence, the concept of rule-based interpretative schemes). In this perspective,
institutions shape and regulate participants’cognitive processes in a number of
respects (Douglas, 1987).
Finally, social rules play a key role in normative and moral discourses relating to
action and interaction. Participants refer to the rules in giving accounts, in justifying
or criticizing what is being done (or not being done), in arguing for or against what
should or should not be done. The rules are utilized also in actors’ attributions
regarding who should be blamed for performance failures, or credited with success.
Actors may exploit rules when they give accounts (referring to the rules) as part of a
strategy to gain legitimacy, to ‘justify’ an activity, or to convince others that particu-
lar actions are ‘right and proper’ (or, are not improper or illegal). Such accounting
and related critical and normative discussion are central features of collective (as well
as individual) reflectivity.
In sum, an institution as a rule regime provides an organized, meaningful basis for
actors to relate to one another and to organize and coordinate as well as to interpret
and to give accounts to one another of their actions and interactions. In guiding and
regulating interaction, the institutional rule system gives behaviour recognizable,
characteristic patterns (as in an administrative body, a modern political democracy, a
market, family, or community). Patterns are understandable and meaningful for those
sharing in the rule knowledge. But the patterns are typically non-transparent or non-
understandable to those lacking such knowledge, as in the case of a sports spectator
who does not know the purpose and rules of a game and cannot understand the play.
III: Collectives, Collective Representations and Collective Reflectivity
The perspective outlined above provides a systematic basis on which to understand
and to explain the sense in which collectives such as families, communities, admin-
istrative organizations, or states, are social agents and can be considered to possess
agential capabilities: to think, judge, decide, act, reform; to conceptualize self and
others as well as self’s actions and interactions; and to reflect. Let us spell these out
in more detail.
73 T.R. BURNS AND E. ENGDAHL
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(1) A collective agent or corporate actor regardless of how it is structured
internally is a socially produced, institutionalized fact. Such a collectivity possesses
powers, makes choices, and acts purposively (at least as conceptualized by its
members and possibly other agents as well). More specifically: (a) Corporate actors
consist of individuals or groups that have a more or less shared conception or
representation of the collective (group, organization, community, nation, or other
collectivity), as distinct from one or more other collectivities in their environment. The
collectivity has an identity, a name, and is conceptualized within a shared cognitive
framework. (b) The collectivity is not only cognitively represented but organized as
an agent with particular value orientations and goals (as well as identified ‘problems’
or ‘concerns’ that must be solved or addressed). It consists of defined social relation-
ships, procedures, and the capacity to make collective choices, determine goals or
intentions, and to take collective action. It interacts with and impacts on its environ-
ment. Its members, as well as other agents with whom the collectivity deals, expect
and react to such agential capabilities. (c) The members of a collective agent utilize
— and are organized to utilize — one or more socially established procedures,
organizational techniques or devices, etc., with which to collectively analyse and
make decisions and to act (Burns and Meeker, 1978, pp. 107–9). Some of the ways
in which collective decisions are made may be institutionalized, for instance, in the
form of authoritative leadership or bureaucratic administration, democratic choice,
traditional or conventional norms or prescriptions specifying what is to be done (e.g.
in responding to shortages or in dealing with a catastrophic situation or crisis).
Actors in any institutional domain — business enterprise, government agency,
democratic association, scientific profession, market, community, or family — are
oriented to the particular rule system(s) that has legitimacy in the context and utilize
it in structuring, coordinating, and regulating their social transactions.12 The particu-
lar rules, definitions, and classifications of any particular institution, not only are key
factors in generating a collective reality with its particular patterns of thinking,
acting, and interaction but gives an identity to the social order; a type of social logic
or rationality is generated on the basis of a particular system of rules (Burns and
Flam, 1987; Burns and Dietz, 1997a).
12 In the symbolic interaction tradition, Shibutani (1961, pp. 136–7) applying Mead refers to ‘social
worlds’, each of which is a universe where institutional arrangements or particular social organiza-
tion facilitates anticipating the behaviour of others and in generating regularized mutual responses.
Institutions provide a basis for all actors in a community to have a common orientation and response
to a situation; response is, of course, differentiated according to the actors’ roles in the institution
(Mead, 1956, p. 249). That is, common orientations and patterns of response are based on common
rules, defined, applied, operating in ways, all or most of the actors know, understand, and can
anticipate. This is the basis of social order. Mead used property as an example (1956, p. 226).
Property is the concept of something, an object, ‘which I have the right to control and others, no one
else may control’. He points out that a dog with her bone has a different conception. Its attitude or
disposition is to fight any other dog trying to take the bone. But in a world of private property, ‘this
bone is my property’ entails a set of rules applying not just to another nearby person but to all other
persons. There is an authoritative rule system, a particular institutional arrangement: rights can be
appealed to, and other agents are assumed — can be presumed to recognize these rights and to
respond accordingly. The owner can have confidence in — can trust — that all or most people in the
collectivity have the same orientation to property. Hence, the great predictability within many
property rights regimes, even when applied to large-scale, heterogenuous communities. Each social
world, constituted and regulated by a rule system, is also perceived and interpreted through the prism
of a more or less shared culture, the boundaries of which are set neither by territory nor formal
membership, but by the limits of effective communication.
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS: PART 1 74
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(2) Collective representations (Durkheim, 1965) are socially constructed com-
plexes of concepts and symbols that are applied to objects, events, and situations,
including the collective agent itself, other agents, and their interaction situations or
arenas. Such representations may also be constructed for hypothetical objects, events,
or situations, e.g. dragons, various types of spirits; or, imagined situations or commu-
nities such as ‘hell’ and ‘utopia’, which actors may wish to avoid or hope for,
respectively (Sommerhoff, 1996). The degree of precision, systematization, and
accuracy of representations may vary greatly. Scientific models are obviously collec-
tive representations of particular realities, with a systematic specification of key
variables, identifiable mechanisms or indications of what leads to what. Many
representations or models of situations, events, objects take the form of narratives or
stories, for example, representation of the collective self as God’s agent, surrounded
or opposed by evil forces. Representations are used in socially constructing a percep-
tion of a situation, in reasoning about and judging what to do (or not do) in the
situation. The agent’s monitoring of a situation, critical observations and accounts of
what is or is not currently happening (or what happened in the past, or will happen in
the future) are closely bound up with collective representations and with reflective
activity (Wiley, 1986a,b; 1994), as discussed below. The medium of such reflective
processes is arguably language.
Symbolic devices — such as words, expressions, discourses — represent some-
thing beyond themselves rather than merely those aspects of natural languages such
as infinite generative capacity, the presence of illocutionary force indicating devices,
quantifiers, and logical connectives (Searle, 1995, p. 60). The symbolizations, de-
fined by social rules including conventions and traditions, are collectively recog-
nized, or ‘public’ (Searle, 1995, p. 66). In any community or other collective agent,
there are shared representations, coded in language, of key institutional objects as
well as important agents, conditions, and configurations (including factors outside
the collectivity). Central to these representations is the collective self, the relation of
this self to others and to the environment. Such representations are concepts, defini-
tions, classifications, schemes, and other patterns recognized and utilized within the
collectivity in viewing situations and problems and acting in relation to them: for
instance, a collective representation of the group ‘self’, representations of ‘others’,
representations of relationships between ‘us’ and ‘them’, and, possibly, the dialectics
of such relationships (Burns et al., 1997). These representations are a common
knowledge and a basis for shared meanings and experiences. Ceremonies, collective
rituals, including dance, serve integrative and self-defining functions as members of
a group or community experience the collective ‘we’, activating and reinforcing
group identity.
The collective definitions and representations, category systems, and other ele-
ments of each collective agent are language dependent and symbolically mediated
(Searle, 1995, pp. 64 ff.).13 They have no meaning, or representation independent of
13 Searle (1995, p. 228) emphasizes rightly that social institutions are characterized by a special
feature, namely symbolism:
The biological capacity to make something symbolize — or mean, or express something
beyond itself — is the basic capacity that underlies not only language but all other forms of
institutional realities as well. Language is itself an institutional structure because it involves
the imposition of a special kind of function on brute physical entities that have no natural
relation to that function. . . . The agential function is that of representing in one or other of
75 T.R. BURNS AND E. ENGDAHL
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a socially accepted language-based system of representing, defining, distinguishing,
and elaborating. The collective representations enable the generation or creation of
diverse types of institutional or collective facts — making up a social order with a
particular logic or rationality.
Collective representations provide an intersubjective basis with which to define,
construct, interpret, and transform relevant objects, including the ‘self’.14 Some
self-representations concern collective goals and means, the collective image, its
proper structure or organization, its membership, its ongoing operations, and
performances, and objects and agents in its environment. Incoming data concerning
its actual or realized states — its performances or performance outcomes — are
compared to ideal representations as a basis for self-regulative and self-critical
processes.15
(3) Collective identity and self-regulation. A collective identity is defined and
constituted in terms of core symbols, organizing principles, norms, etc. Some core
principles are understood and relied on as ‘natural’, as if they were not really social
products or human constructions, but an objective reality beyond the reach of special
interests and manipulation; or they are viewed as ‘sacred’ (and belonging to the
transcendental or ‘God’) and non-negotiable. Naturalness and sacredness are two
fundamental ways to anchor — or to establish beyond normal human intervention —
key rules and principles. Members of the collectivity ‘belong’ not only because of
their positions or roles in the collectivity but because they share core rules and
symbols along with certain ‘ancestors’, episodes and myths (whether partially true or
not), etc. Members recognize and experience solidarity through interacting with one
another in accordance with socially shared conceptions of relationships, roles, and
interaction forms as well as discourses and rituals and through using proper language
forms, expressions of particular core values, norms, and beliefs, and codes of dress
and style.
Core values and goals, norms and standards associated with or underlying the
identity or conception of the collective self, are not only expressed or referred to in
interactions but are used in constituting and regulating collective activities and
processes. The collective membership operate a regulative system where they com-
the possible speech act modes, objects and states of affairs in the world. . . . Agents who can
do this collectively have the fundamental precondition of all other institutional structures:
Money, property, marriage, government and universities all exist by forms of human agree-
ment that essentially involve the capacity to symbolize.
14 That is, the actors share a socio-cultural frame, on the basis of which they can more or less express
a similar meaning or the significance of any object, animate or inanimate. Each object x, experience,
or social act — by virtue of its expression in symbols — can be interpreted and communicated with
others in specific social situations. Language mediated thinking — which is the basis of higher order
reflective activity — entails the use of symbols of the objects about which we are thinking. I may
use a knife, chair, or other object as part of my instrumental behaviour — to cut something, to rest
my bottom, to participate in a dining ritual. I may make use of and experience an object, without
thinking about what I am doing. If one thinks about the chair — on the basis of its name, its various
symbolic significances, that is ‘chair’, this is typically shared with others in the community. Others
know what ‘chair’means. It calls for the ‘same’ response in others as in myself (Mead, 1956).
15 As we suggest in the following sub-section, language of self, self-reference, and self-regulation
can be fruitfully combined with cybernetic concepts and models, particularly in the development of
second-order cybernetics.
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS: PART 1 76
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pare — or test — organizing principles, rules, goals, and intentions with respect to
actual conditions and performance, trying to maintain a correspondence or minimum
deviation between them. Such cybernetic control, oriented to realizing core principles
and rules including goals, entails limited self-reference and reflectivity. Collectivities
exhibit, however, higher order types of cybernetic control. These concern reflection
on characteristics of the collectivity itself: its structures, its strategies and practices,
its goals, and its operative cybernetics. In such ‘second-order cybernetics’, attention
is shifted from the cybernetics of observed, functioning systems to the cybernetics of
observing systems, from an objective world to an experiential world (among others,
Luhmann, 1984;1990; Maturana, 1980; 1981; Pask, 1975; Varela, 1975; Varela et al.,
1991; von Foerster, 1960). Central to this is the focus on explicit self-reference,
cognition, communication — representing a shift in epistemology in the field of
cybernetics. Thus, a collectivity not only reflects on its immediate, particular per-
formances or factors underlying good or bad results but may engage in reflections
and critical discussions as well as negotiations about its agency: its value orientations,
goals, and intentions; its structural order and cultural capabilities, its rule and symbol
systems, its strategies, programs, and external relations. It is typically motivated or
driven to enter into a higher level reflective mode because of unexpected or irregular
performance failures, radical discrepancies with respect to goals or expectations,
ambiguity, anomalies, dilemmas, predicaments in collective pursuits, activities, and
problem-solving, etc. (Burns et al., 1997).
(4) Collective reflectivity. A major object of reflection in a collectivity — whether
group, community, organization, or nation — is the collectivity itself, its relationship
to its environment, its norms, rules, and institutional arrangements that structure the
collectivity or a part of it. Reflectivity can be focused on factual, ethical, evaluative,
aesthetic, or symbolic aspects of the collectivity and serve as a medium for the
development of particular types of systematic knowledge, e.g. government, jurispru-
dence, economics, or business. In the perspective of Jurgen Habermas (1981), a
speech community reflects through language on the social order, social relationships,
social or ethical norms, among other things. This is an extension of Max Weber’s idea
that human agents reflect on the means and ends of action and may develop an ‘ethics
of responsibility’ (Weber, 1968). In general, collective reflectivity may be applied to
various group features, for instance the way the group frames problems and solutions,
conceptualizes an event or development, or the group’s particular norms and values,
cultural forms, institutional arrangements, cultural forms, or its development over
time. Group actors engage together in reflective discourses and consider the group’s
particular beliefs, strategies, and judgments or the ways in which the group concep-
tualizes, and relates to, its particular social environment. Underlying rule systems and
shared cognitive frames may be reflected on and assessed. In sum, collective interac-
tion processes provide an on-going context for self-referential discourses about the
collectivity’s values, goals, problems, strategies, options, choices, developments,
principles of organization and development, etc. In this sense, there is a conscious-
ness among the membership of the collective self and its core or identifying elements.
Collective consciousness is manifested in a variety of contexts and forms, concern-
ing past, future, as well as current performances and developments. Critical reflective
processes may be directed to a particular past event or development. For example,
since the second World War there have emerged numerous projects, programmes, and
77 T.R. BURNS AND E. ENGDAHL
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institutions to investigate what role various European countries have played in
relation to the Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities and crimes. Recently, such
considerations have focused on the sources and disposition of Nazi Germany gold
(for instance, in Sweden an independent commission has been recently established
for the purpose of examining Sweden’s part in laundering Nazi stolen gold). There is
also a widespread reflective and critical discourse around the question of how the
Holocaust could have occurred in the first place and not faced greater opposition in
a presumably civilized Europe. Or critical collective reflectivity may be directed to
a contemporary condition or development. In Europe today, for example, there is
widespread public discussion — as well as systematic social research — on the
‘democratic deficit’, in part the failure of the European Union to achieve democratic
legitimacy, in part through the establishment of a European Parliament capable of
exercising power (Andersen and Eliasson, 1996).
Critical examination and reflection go on in all organizations and communities,
some more than others, some more accurately or systematically than others. A
modern business enterprise, government agency, university department, or other
formal organization engages in monitoring and examining their performances —
either in relation to their own ambitions and standards or relative to the demands or
expectations of others. In the case of indications of unsatisfactory performance or
failings, there is typically a critical reflective process of trying to determine whether
the indications are valid, and if so, why this has happened, and what can should be
done about it, possibly through re-designing and reforming the collectivity.
In general, any modern collectivity is characterized by institutionalized reflective
processes, as its members and specialized groups within it conceptualize, discuss,
account for, assess what their particular collectivity is, how it is organized, how it
makes decisions, what it has accomplished or failed to accomplish in its perform-
ances. This type of self-consciousness relates to individual reflectivity and con-
sciousness development, as we discuss in Part Two. In the case of collective as well
as individual consciousness, there is a developed sense of ‘self ’, self as a type of agent
with particular capabilities, limitations, strengths and weaknesses — as an observer
(Baars, 1996), judger, and doer as well as creater. The ‘self’ is a hub to which current
information, experiences, plans, actions of other agents, the context, etc. are related.
The sense of self emerges and develops through self-referential discourses, when a
collective engages in critical as well as justifying reflections and judgments.
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS: PART 1 78
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Objects
Levels
Nature:
Ecology, resource
base, physical
conditions.
Culture I:
Values, evaluative
processes.
Culture II:
Collective
representations,
knowledge,
institutions.
Higher order
consciousness
(reflectivity):
Collective
representations
and
language-based
reflective
processes.
Conceptions and
models of natural
resources, economic
conditions,
including resource
decline, problems,
etc.
Collective
conception and
formulations of
good and evil,
justice, ethics, etc.
Conceptions and
reflections on
collective
representations,
knowledge,
institutions.*
Collective
awareness and
conceptualization
without language.
Group experiences,
resource decline,
problems without
collective
representation of
this or its causes.
Group or network
members experience
strong feelings for
the group.
A group or a
network of persons
has a sense of, but
no collective
conception and
representation of,
solidarity feelings
or values.
Group members
have conception of
their similarities.
They ‘fit’ one
another, exchange
readily shared
experience; but no
collective
conception and
representation of a
group-for-itself with
a name, culture,
institutions.
Non-awareness on
the collective
level.
Social practices
which unknowingly
lead to resource
depletion,
environmental
deterioration, spread
of disease, etc.
Tacit counter-
values, collective or
public ignorance of
widely shared
illegal values and
practices.
Collective beliefs,
classification
schemes, models
generate various
problems that are
not empirically
detected, and not
brought to
awareness or
subject to reflection.
* NOTE: It is precisely here that generative, multi-level self-referentiality can take off.
Table 1. Levels and objects of collective consciousness
79 T.R. BURNS AND E. ENGDAHL
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IV: Discussion and Conclusions
The conception of collective reflectivity outlined here has several important impli-
cations:
(1) ‘Self-consciousness’, including self-awareness in the case of a collective self,
allows for the construction and re-construction of complex social forms: coordination
arrangements, division of labour, and structuration of the collective in the face of new
types of problems. Alternative constructions may be imagined, discussed, tried and
tested. Language, collective representations, and reflectivity enable then the genera-
tion of variety and the development of complex social strategies, which in particular
selective environments have evolutionary advantages (Burns and Dietz, 1992;
1997b).16 There is an enhanced collective capacity to represent and to solve prob-
lems, to deal with complex challenges and crises. For instance, a collective has a basis
not only for talking about, discussing, agreeing (or disagreeing) about a variety of
objects including the collective self but also for discussing and resolving differences
within the collective in conceptions, opinions, and judgments with respect to key
objects including ‘the collective self’ as well as individual ‘selves’. It also has the
basis to conceptualize and develop new types of social relationships, new social
structures in the form of institutional arrangements, normative orders, and, in general,
increased potentialities for collective representation and reflectivity.
The language-based reflective mode can be applied to itself, since the symbolic
devices in language such as words can be applied generatively, recursively, not only
to physical objects, actions, processes but to symbols themselves. Thus, any system
S can be represented or modeled and analysed within a cognitive frame. This primary
frame may also be represented and analysed in a higher order or meta-frame. The
primary frame, like S, becomes the object of representation. Its classification
schemes, modes of representation and analysis, etc., would be encoded, represented
and reflected on in the meta-frame, and so on (Burns et al., 1997). The capacity for
advanced reflectivity — higher order minds — can only be developed where the use
of language and collective representations are found and, moreover, where such
representations can be applied not only to normal ‘objects’ but to symbolic objects
and collective representations, such as themselves.17 Thus, collectives as well as
16 We are not only saying that some institutional arrangements give comparative advantages over
others in a given environment (Burns and Dietz, 1992, 1997a). But that normative orders — and
mechanisms for generating commitment, loyalty, and solidarity in a population — offer evolution-
ary advantages under conditions where building up large, effective, solidarity collectives leads to
significant social and material gains. In other words, some socio-ecological contexts generate
pressures (incentives) for large-scale cooperative actions, particular forms of leadership, coordina-
tion, social control, etc., providing important gains (or avoiding losses) in relation to the physical
and social environments (see however footnote 19).
17 Animals appear to have internal representations since they are capable of memory and various
forms of pattern recognition, but they obviously lack the capability to code these in language — and
to communicate this to others. That is, they cannot represent the representation system and the
process itself. They cannot, at least not explicitly, engage intentionally in second-order cybernetics
(see earlier remarks). This capability in human communities provides a basis for ‘awareness of
awareness and higher order forms of reflectivity’ (George, 1987, p. 24). This to not to claim,
however, that all human representations are coded in language and shared in a group or community.
They are not, as should be apparent from earlier remarks (see Sommerhoff, 1996)
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS: PART 1 80
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individuals not only learn and make use of collective representations but are them-
selves the objects of particular collective representations, which are referred to and
analysed in discourses and reflective activities, and which contribute to the re-
structuring of their perceptions and understandings of themselves.
(2) A collective representation is never complete, nor is it necessarily accurate or
effective. Nevertheless, because it shapes and influences judgment, action, and
reflectivity, it often has real consequences for the collectivity (its internal social
relationships, its culture, and its relation to its environment). In general, the effectiv-
ity of collective (as well as individual) reflection is not given. Reflectivity may be
severely limited or distorted under some conditions, for instance: (a) an agent fails to
acquire tools of language essential to learning and developing collective repre-
sentations of self and self-development.18
(b) The agent, although having a collective
representation of self, is unable or unwilling to engage in reflective processes with
respect to its own ways of thinking, deciding, and acting. Its activities are largely
habitualized and beyond reflective attention, or its members are totally involved in
practical activities and lack time and resources to devote to reflective processes.
(c) The agent experiences deep anxieties associated with, and a reluctance to engage
in, self-reflective activities. In general, there are many biases, gaps and blind spots,
distortions and blockage of reflectivity in collectives as well as individuals (Burns
and Engdahl, 1998). Numerous events, interactions, and developments go un-
observed, and therefore cannot enter into the collective consciousness and reflective
processes. Even actions, events, and developments that may be observed, often do
not fit into the established cognitive frame and classifications schemes, are not
‘recognized’, or are recognized for something else. This is often the case with
emergent or new patterns that arise in connection with the introduction of new
technologies and new techniques, or in response to changed environments. Finally,
even in cases where observation takes place, and actions, events, or developments are
recorded and enter into collective consciousness, they may be defined away, selec-
tively ignored. Such processes may be initiated or backed up by authoritative persons
and social pressures. Social groups have a variety of mechanisms of selective
attention, reframing, re-interpretation, and outright repression of disturbing or disso-
nant information, thus contributing to bias, distortion, half-truths, rationalizations,
lying and illusion, which block or distort effective attention to critical problems and
the correction of performance failures or the realization of greater awareness and
18 Socio-cultural frames structure perceptions and experience in particular ways. Unnamed objects
and processes are experienced differently from those that are named and reflected upon within a
cultural cognitive system. Naming together with conceptualization allows for a focus, a type of
regulation, even idealization or typification (as well as prejudice). Otherwise, conceptions and
actions would be much more situational, much more open to competing signals and adaptability. In
this sense, the experiences and problems are different in processes with self-conceptions and
self-regulation but without language mediation, on the one hand, and such processes with language
mediation, on the other.
19 In part, this is because the mind is continually stabilizing experience, operatively selectively,
excluding, re-framing, transforming, etc. (Burns et al., 1997; Machado, 1997; Machado and Burns,
1997). Therefore, the powerful instrument of language and collective reflectivity must be seen as a
double-edged sword, in relation to expanding freedom of opportunity and variability, on the one
hand, and, on the other, imposing particular constraints and limiting variability. Language-based
collective representations of the past as well as of the future enable agents to escape the present, to
enter into future as well as past imagined worlds and to reflect on these worlds. Moreover, in relation
81 T.R. BURNS AND E. ENGDAHL
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consciousness (Burns and Engdahl, 1998; Machado, 1997; Machado and Burns,
1997).19
(3) A number of contemporary scholars stress the fact that modern societies
exhibit increased, institutional reflectivity (Beck et al., 1994; Giddens, 1990, 1991;
Luhmann, 1984, 1990, among others).20 This can be seen in the institutionalized
reflectivity embodied in social and political commentary and social science research,
public discourses and assessments — especially in democracies with well-established
public discussion and accountability, an institutionalized free press and autonomous
social research. Social scientists, social commentators, journalists writers, and other
‘intellectuals’ play a central role in examining and discussing the ways in which a
modern society — or modern institutions and practices — function or fail to function,
possibly specifying some of the factors underlying success or failure, and contribut-
ing to proposals for reform. This can be illustrated by a number of contemporary
works and public discussions relating to these works — such as Rachel Carson’s The
Silent Spring — which address critical problems of or threats to contemporary
societies — and possibly how these can and should be dealt with. There are innumer-
able examples of contemporary collective reflectivity: extending from considerations
of global economic and financial developments; the emerging role, power, and
problems of global communications and their local impacts and role in new forms of
exclusion and class; chronic employment in Western Europe; the aging population in
most developed as well as many industrializing societies; global overpopulation; the
crisis of modern families and child rearing; the challenge of reshaping gender
relations. Numerous reports, studies, and commentaries are part of the processes of
collective reflectivity, criticism, and reformation of modern institutions, and practices.
(4) Language-based consciousness entails more than language per se. Language
is more than a system of shared rules for generating and interpreting meaningful
statements (it is as if the rules are often rough, always incomplete, requiring situ-
ational interpretation, varying non-mechanical applications and adaptations, etc.). It
is the basis for particular types of social interaction and communication and for the
to the present they may generate alternative representations. They may disagree or oppose repre-
sentations of others, opening the way for dialectical processes and political struggle about alternative
worlds or realities (Burns et al., 1997). But collective representations — and reflectivity based on
them — may prevent us from experiencing or discovering the un-represented, the un-named. In such
ways, the evolutionary advantages referred to in footnote 17 must be conditional or qualified:
reflective powers may be greatly distorted, the generation of alternatives and varieties highly
selective and biased, and social transformation misdirected and possibly self-destructive (Burns and
Engdahl, 1998).
20 Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens and Scott Lash, among others, suggest that increasing modern-
ization will be accompanied by increasing reflexivity — that is, by the increasing capacity of agents
to reflect on structure. Such reflexivity can be divided into cognitive, normative, and aesthetic
(judgmental) types of reflexivity (Beck et al., 1994): (I) Cognitive reflexivity entails cognitive
review of and judgments about how actors consider how they frame, think about or decide in relation
to action situations. Science, technical knowledge, and systematic, instrumental thinking tries to
improve cognitive frames, or deal with social changes and new developments which do not fit into
the existing frame. (II) Normative reflexivity entails the review of and judgment about norms, laws,
how they operate, how to improve them, how to apply or adapt them to social changes, or
consideration of entirely new norms and laws in the face of a radically different world. (III)
Judgment reflexivity entails cognitive review and judgment about judgment forms or criteria.
Whereas Kant considered the beautiful or the sublime, Pierre Bourdieu speaks of the aesthetics of
the very profane everyday aspects of modern, consumer oriented societies.
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS: PART 1 82
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development of shared representations and reflections, that is particular modes of
knowledge development and knowledge sharing based on common language and
communication. Language-based communication in a community enables the collec-
tive formulation of distinctions, conceptualizations, classifications, judgments, etc.
The names, concepts, distinctions, classification systems, and cognitive frames de-
veloped and utilized in a community are a part of its corpus of collective (or common)
knowledge. Among the shared concepts and collective representations which are the
focus of this paper are self-concepts and self-reflection on the collective level.
Through language-based communication, ‘we’ as well as ‘I’ identities are elaborated,
clarified, shaped and reshaped, reflected on and altered. Collective representation,
naming, classification, discussion, and reflection are conveyed to, experienced, and
learned by individual members of a collective. In sum, there is a complex of factors
closely bound up with language, which provide the conditions and mechanisms for
the development and evolution of consciousness, collective as well as individual.
(5) The approach outlined here is clearly anti-reductionist: the basic premise is
that collective processes are central to understanding many of the most important
properties and dynamics of human consciousness. Of course, underlying physical and
neuro-physiological concomitants of consciousness phenomena are important in
setting constraints. That is, while biology and cognitive processes are obviously
important in understanding consciousness phenomena, there is a great deal about
consciousness which cannot be understood without consideration of language, com-
munication, collective reflectivity, and other collective phenomena. This is no less
true of our experience of collective consciousness than it is of our experience of
individual consciousness.
Part Two of the paper utilizes the theoretical approach outlined here to provide tools
with which to analyse and explain the capability of an individual to engage in
reflective and inner-dialogical processes about herself, that is consciousness proper.
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85 T.R. BURNS AND E. ENGDAHL
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