This book provides a systematic study of the social theory and epistemology of Alfred Schutz, a philosopher and sociologist born in Vienna, Austria, in 1899, who died in the United States in 1959. Owing to his Jewish origins, he was forced to flee his homeland because of the Nazi and settled in New York in 1939. His works gained widespread recognition after his death and provided a foundation for new developments in sociology since the 1960s, including phenomenologically oriented sociology and ethnomethodology.
Schutz's theory appeals to scholars because he creates concepts that explain how people experience everyday life. For instance, he introduces the concept of “relevance” to describe how we distinguish between what is relevant to us and what is not in our everyday lives. I attend to what is relevant to my action, while everything else sinks into the background. Schutz’s concepts are of great interest to sociologists who study everyday life.
However, considering why Schutz attempts to explain everyday life brings us an additional theme of epistemology that concerns how social scientists produce knowledge. How is it possible for the social sciences (the study of society in general and sociology in particular) to produce knowledge? It is necessary to explore everyday life to answer this question. Social scientists studying ordinary people also live among them. Schutz believed that it is essential to question the relationship between everyday life and scientific knowledge. The author of this book formulates it as “the problem of life and scientific knowledge (Leben und Erkenntnis).”
Few existing studies on Schutz chronologically examine his works along a single theme. Therefore, this book traces the course of Schutz’s thinking during his lifetime from his early to his later years along “the problem of life and scientific knowledge.” Additionally, it examines his manuscripts, correspondences, and handwritten notes, which have not been thoroughly investigated. Building on the material, it reveals how Schutz tackled the issues raised by philosophers and sociologists of his time.
With the publication of Alfred Schütz Werkausgabe in the early 2000s, research on Schutz entered a new stage: it established a foundation for a comprehensive and systematic study of Schutz. Schutz-related research will continue after the publication of this book. The author hopes that this book will become one to start with for those who want to know about Schutz.
(Written by: TAKAKUSA Ken / March 17, 2023)
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction: The Problem of Life and Scientific Knowledge
Chapter 2 Examination of Previous Studies
Chapter 3 Situating Schutz’s Theory of Science in the History of Ideas
Chapter 4 Toward the Dimension of Prescientific Life: Schutz’s Reception of Bergson
Chapter 5 Social Sciences as Detachment from Lived Experience: Reading Der sinnhafte Aufbau der sozialen Welt
Chapter 6 Life-World: From Becoming to Inherence in the World
Chapter 7 Multiple Realities and Provinces of Meaning
Chapter 8 The Social Sciences as Intersubjective Inquiry: Relevance, Relativism, and Value Freedom
Chapter 9 The Logic of Interpretive Sociology: What is Case Study?
Chapter 10 Conclusion
The 3rd UTokyo Jiritsu Award for Early Career Academics (The University of Tokyo 2022)
“Inconsistency Between Solitary Ego and the Social World?” (Schutzian Research Vol. 9 pp. 49-64 2017)