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Phenomenological Sociologist

ALFRED SCHUTZ
SOUMYA KUMAR

Soumya

11/9/2010

SCHUTZ

Soumya

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SCHUTZ
Schutz is to Husserl what Blumer is to Mead Schutz modified Husserls doctrine by combining similar streams of thought He integrated European sensibilities of Husserl, Max Weber and Henri Bergson with American insights of William James, John Dewey, and George Herbert Mead

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HUSSERL

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MAX WEBER

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HENRI BERGSON

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WILLIAM JAMES

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JOHN DEWEY

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G H MEAD

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INTERSUBJECTIVITY

All facts are from the outset facts selected from a universal context by the activities of our mind

There are no facts per se; only interpreted facts

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PERCEPTION

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PERCEPTION

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PERCEPTION

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, ,

All our knowledge of the world, in commonsense as well as in scientific thinking, involves constructs
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Husserls subjectivity + Webers interpretive sociology = Schutzs phenomenological sociology

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SUBJECTIVITY
; ; , ; ; ,

What can we know with absolute certainty? Only the contents of our own consciousness
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INTERSUBJECTIVITY
Schutz says that this requires special methodology for studying as it raises peculiar questions Advocated Webers formulation of ideal types as a procedure Intersubjectivity: ; ;

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CRITIQUE OF WEBER & HUSSERL


Verstehen: understanding actors (actors) viewpoint How to transcend subjectivity and understand the other? ?

Husserl says that intuition helps to explore ones mind; intersubjectivity is intuitive Is it so?

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SCHUTZS ANSWER
How is intersubjectivity possible? Intersubjectivity is accomplished through socialization and social interaction Emphasis shifted from subjectivity to intersubjectivity, from consciousness to knowledge and meaning, from the intuition of essences to interpretation and typification

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WILLIAM JAMES
It is our perception of reality that matters,, not reality itself Our perception of reality makes for many experimental worlds or subuniverses However, James reduced this by saying that paramount reality is that of sensations Schutz accepted multiple realities but rejected the reduction to sensations

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SUBUNIVERSE

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MULTIPLE REALITY

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MULTIPLE REALITY

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SCHUTZS ANSWER
The world is from the outset not the private world of the single individual but an intersubjective world, common to all of us It was his intention to examine how people in everyday life collectively understand their shared world

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SCHUTZS ANSWER

All interpretation of this world is based upon a stock of previous experiences of it, our own experiences and those handed down to us by our parents and teachers, which in the form of knowledge at hand function as a scheme of reference

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WHO IS THIS?

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WHO IS THIS?

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STOCK OF KNOWLEDGE
Ones stock of knowledge is socially conditioned and a product of socialisation , ;

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THEORY OF ACTION
Like Parsons, Schutz was interested in developing a theory of action Assumption: our interests are predominantly practical; a pragmatic motive governs our natural attitude toward the world of daily life ,

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THEORY OF ACTION
Scope of theory: the subjective meaning man bestows upon certain experiences of his own spontaneous life Schutz came out with a series of definitions on conduct, action, working etc.,

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PRAGMATISM

, , ; Pragmatist: ;

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CONDUCT
Subjectively meaningful experiences of spontaneity, be they those of inner life or those gearing into the outer world ;

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ACTION - WORKING
Conduct which is based upon a preconceived project /

Working is defined as action in the outer world, based upon a project and characterised by the intention to bring about the projected state of affairs
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WORKING
Working is synonymous with social interaction Among all the described forms of spontaneity that of working is the most important one for the constitution of the reality of the world of daily life , : fear of death, i.e., the fundamental anxiety

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MORTALITY
Unique to human experience is a selfconscious awareness of ones own mortality

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MORTALITY

From the fundamental anxiety spring the many interrelated systems of hopes and fears, of wants and satisfactions, of chances and risks which incite man within the natural attitude to attempt the mastery of the world, to overcome obstacles, to draft projects and to realise them

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COGNITIVE STYLES
We experience the world as containing various relatively distinct and independent provinces of meaning , . , , ,

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COGNITIVE STYLES
According to Schutz, science and research too take place within a distinct province of meaning The realities of science and dreams are regions that one enters by bracketing or switching off in some way the quotidian lifeworld Quotidian: , , , , ,

Schutz borrowed epoche from Husserl

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EPOCHE
Epoche is seen in the life-world Life-world is a region that has special status in Schutzs analysis The life-world is the world we ordinarily take for granted, the pre-scientific, experientially given world that we are familiar with and never call in to question

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EPOCHE
When we dream we perform an epoche on the rules that in everyday reality govern the identities of persons and places life-world ,

Life-world ;

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CONTRIBUTIONS
Twofold contributions: First, he aims to describe and analyse the essential structures of the life-world Second, he offers an account of the way in which subjectivity is involved in the construction of social meaning, social actions and situations; indeed, social worlds

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CONTRIBUTIONS
Multiple realities do not represent what is out there in the world as William James said They are conventional i.e., cultural forms of experience structured by particular constellations of relevance and selective attention

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TIME
He also concentrates on the time structure of the self He adopted the pragmatist distinction of I and me as phases of the self in social interaction The moment of action the I is a more or less uncertain step in to the future, while the moment of reflection the me is the selfs assessment of its own actions, --- in memory

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TEMPORALITY
Each of us experiences his or her social environment as structured in strata or layers around himself or herself These strata have individual at the centre Contemporaries Predecessors Successors

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CONTEMPORARIES

Those present in my actual biographical moment

With them mutual interplay of action and reaction can be established

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PREDECESSORS

We cannot act on them Their past actions and their outcomes influence our own actions Their past actions and their outcomes are also open to interpretation

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SUCCESSORS
; !

All these relations show the most manifold forms of intimacy and anonymity, of familiarity and strangeness, of intensity and extensity
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CONTEMPORARIES

With regard to ones contemporaries, there are various layers of spatial proximity and distance, familiarity and strangeness

Face to face proximity:

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CONTEMPORARIES

This does not mean that the rest of humanity is not part of ones life; there is some mutual contact and influence, however vague, indirect and insignificant, between most of ones contemporaries and me

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TYPIFICATIONS
The experience of the life-world is a process of typification We employ a repertoire of maxims and recipes for understanding and dealing with the world and other people A type of practical know-how Objects in the world are not simply unique entities

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TYPIFICATIONS
We deal with types entities: trees, animals, persons etc , , , , , ,

, type,

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TYPIFICATIONS
In other words, we have a kind of immediate knowledge about how to understand our environment The primary source of this knowledge is previous experience ours and our predecessors Obviously, typifications also play an important role in our social life

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TYPIFICATIONS
We do not only experience objects and living creatures as typified, but also actions, situations, motives, personalities and so forth Schutz gives the example of posting a letter Another element in the pattern of typification is an assumption that others have systems of relevancies that are similar to my own Congruence of the system of relevencies

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POSTAL COVER

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POSTAL COVER

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POSTMAN

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MOTIVES FOR ACTION


We need to distinguish between In-order-to motives Because motives An agents in-order-to motive is what she wants to achieve with the action- her aim or purpose From the perspective of the agent, the inorder-to motive is thus directed at the future

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BECAUSE MOTIVES
The because motive has to do with the agents past and the circumstances that made her seriously consider the course of action she adopts Schutzs favourite example: the person who commits murder in order to obtain the victims money

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MURDER MOTIVE

In-order-to motive: straightforward to obtain victims money Because motive: complex all the factors that contributed to putting the agent in a situation where she could plan and carry out the project

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HOW TYPICAL IS TYPIFICATION?


Interests are mainly practical rather than theoretical With regard to some people and objects, I am only interested in some typical features or objects With some others I may be interested in their uniqueness rather than their typicality

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TAKEN FOR GRANTED


Our friends and family members are not just an example of some type: mammals, homo sapiens, postal workers etc These ways of understanding our environment are generally so natural and familiar that we never pause to reflect on them We take them for granted, without questioning their validity, and without subjecting them to scrutiny

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ATTITUDE
Like Husserl, Schutz calls this unquestioning and uncritical attitude to ones environment the natural attitude Our background knowledge is not immune to revision As long as my typifications help in achieving my goals and aims, they remain in force; if repeatedly defeated, we will typically revise them

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INTERSUBJECTIVITY
As far as taken-for-grantedness is concerned, intersubjectivity plays an important role typical ,

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NORMALITY
Normality is also conventionality which essentially transcends the individual person

In sum it is from others that we learn what is normal

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OTHERS
In particular, those others that are closest to me, those who raise me, and those I grow up together with and live with I am thereby part of a common tradition that, through a chain of generations, stretches back in to a distant past

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SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION

My background knowledge, implicit assumptions, expectations and so on, are hence not primarily mine understood as my own personal and unique constructions On the contrary, they are social constructions

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KNOWLEDGE: 3 ASPECTS

Structural socialisation

Social distribution

Genetic socialisation

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ASPECTS
Knowledge we have is knowledge that others could have as well, if they had access to the same facts as we have access to We could know what others know only if we could view things from their perspective, their knowledges etc. Reciprocity of perspectives

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ASPECTS
Knowledge has social genesis Knowledge is socially distributed Most of us know something about certain things, but very little about other things

A person may be an expert in English but may not know if her car does not start

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KNOWLEDGE
We have some rough knowledge of how to find someone who can fill the gaps in our own stock of knowledge Schutz repeatedly points out that the social distribution of knowledge is a topic that has been insufficiently studied Study of social distribution of knowledge is the sociology of knowledge (SOK)

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SOK
Originally SOK dealt with epistemological issues Epistemology: ? ?

elite ; ,

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SOK
Schutz emphasises that the mechanic and the supermarket clerk have their knowledge Such knowledge is also as legitimate an object of for a sociology of knowledge as is the knowledge of scientific and cultural elite It is not the task of sociology as an empirical science to address general epistemological questions

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SOK

Sociology should focus on the life-world as it is experienced by everyday subjects In short, as Berger and Luckmann says, it is the task of SOK to analyse the societal conditions for the formation and maintenance of various types of knowledge, scientific as well as quotidian
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SOK

The SOK is, briefly put, interested in how knowledge is produced, distributed and internalised; it examines how the validity of any form of knowledge, that of Indian Sannyasi as well as an American businesswoman or criminologist, becomes socially established

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CRITICISMS
Schutz adopts an individualist perspective and thereby loses sight of the way the community itself functions as a system, perpetuating itself thorough space and time, says Nick Crossley A society cannot be reduced to a sum of all the individuals members In defence, an impersonal system will never yield a society; without personal there is no impersonal

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CRITICISMS
Its insistence on the life-world, everyday experience of commonsense seem to celebrate the mediocre and ordinary If all knowledge are equally valuable, then it may legitimise intellectual laziness Emphasis on subjectivity as active and creative may lead to blindness regarding individuals being subjected to, controlled by institutions or other individuals

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CRITICISMS

Finally it also promotes status quo

Phenomenology in fact takes care of these criticisms Lack of understanding seems to be he reason for these criticims

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ANSWERS
Taking a common mans perspective in to consideration does not mean that critical distance should not be maintained Schutz himself says that the sociologist must be an observer of, rather than a participant in, the social phenomena she examines He emphasises the fact that our commonsense knowledge is limited and incomplete

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ANSWERS

Schutz and his followers say that examination of everyday subject need not glorify or idealise it

He emphasises that everyday subject may be blinded by habit and convention

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ANSWERS

However objectivated, the social world was made by men and, therefore, can be remade by them Berger and Luckmann

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