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41. Schutzian Research: Volume > 12
Alexis Gros The Reification of the Other as a Social Pathology: Traces of a Phenomenological Critical Theory in Alfred Schutz
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The present paper constitutes an attempt to articulate, systematize, and further develop the implicit traces of a phenomenological critical theory that, according to Michael Barber’s reading, are to be found in Schutz’s thought. It is my contention that a good way to achieve this aim is by reading Schutz against the background of novel, phenomenologically and hermeneutically informed accounts of Critical Theory in the tradition of the Frankfurt School, such as Hartmut Rosa’s. In order to achieve the stated objective, I will proceed in four steps. First (1), I will briefly reconstruct the mostly negative reception of phenomenology, the interpretive social sciences, and Schutz by both the Frankfurt School and contemporary critical social theory. Second (2), I will present Barber’s alternative reading of Schutzian phenomenology as entailing an implicit ethics and a rudimentary critical theory based thereon. Third (3), I will sketch out Rosa’s formal model of Critical Theory as an heuristic means for articulating Schutz’s unspoken social-critical insights. Finally (4), establishing a dialogue between Barber’s reading of Schutz and Rosa’s account, I will provide a preliminary articulation of Schutz’s rudimentary critical theory.
42. Schutzian Research: Volume > 12
Max Gropper On Anonymity and Appresentation: Perceiving the Stranger in Everyday Life
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In his famous work on the stranger, Alfred Schutz focuses on the interpretative discrepancies between in-groups and out-groups from the per­spective of a stranger approaching a new group. In doing so, Schutz emphasizes that strangers can overcome their strangeness within a social group by adapting to the prevalent cultural patterns. Shifting the perspective from the stranger to the in-group this essay aims to argue that the experience of the Other’s strangeness due to a discrepancy of interpretative schemes is only one dimension of how the stranger is perceived in everyday life. A second dimension can be derived from Schutz’ work on appresentation. This essay will follow four analytical steps. First, this essay summarizes the Schutzian approach on perceiving the Other as a taken-for-granted part of everyday life within an assumed intersubjective understanding based on an assumed reciprocity of perspectives. Referring to Eberle’s description of an irreciprocity of perspectives, the second section analyzes the Schutzian stranger based on an intersubjective understanding. The third section then focuses on the appresentational pro­cesses of perceiving the stranger in everyday life. By using Goffman’s distinction between virtual and actual social identity, the interplay of categorizing and experiencing the Other in everyday life can be described. Finally, considering the question of how it comes that people can find themselves strangers in their own society, this paper closes by merging the argumentation with a description of the Schutzian perspective on the processes of stigmatization.
43. Schutzian Research: Volume > 12
Ellen Jacobsson The Stranger in Immigrant Integration
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This paper suggests that Alfred Schutz’s account of systems of typi­fication together with Sara Ahmed’s account of the proximity of the stranger allows for a different understanding of social integration. The paper proposes to rethink the political and social relationship of the in-group and the stranger, approached through the face-to-face encounter between an integration counselor and an immigrant. The encounter offers a disruption of what is taken for granted by the in-group and functions as a catalyst for a system of reference to appear at all. Through Ahmed’s account on the familiarity and proximity of the stranger, I argue that integration practices are considered to produce, rather than translate, a coherent system of reference for an in-group. The institutionalization of social integration is consequently risking concealing the “unintegratable” stranger rather than offering a solution for the more epistemological dimensions of social exclusion that we find in the experience of sameness and difference.
44. Schutzian Research: Volume > 12
Karsten Krampe, Svenja Reinhardt, Sebastian Weste Choosing to Wait: Waiting as a Possible Part of Projects of Action
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In this paper we examine the concept of waiting from a phenomenological point of view. In order to do so, we start with a definition from Andreas Göttlich and contextualize it within the theoretical framework provided by Alfred Schutz, Thomas Luckmann and Peter L. Berger. Additionally, we discuss waiting on the basis of our previous research, specifically within the context of a field extract from an earlier life-world analytical ethnography on the parents of pre-adolescent, non-professional soccer players. The field vignette depicts a mother who has problematic possibilities of conflicting preferences due to the apperception of her soccer playing child, who was injured during the match. This negotiation within projects of action will be outlined as a specific facet of waiting.
45. Schutzian Research: Volume > 12
Christian Etzrodt A Phenomenological Approach Towards the Analysis of Politics
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The goal of this paper is to develop a consistent framework for a phenomenological discourse analysis of political debates. The political sphere arises through the questioning of taken-for-granted definitions of reality: a crisis. During a crisis meaning has to be restored, and different interest groups will try to push their definition of reality, which is advantageous for them. For the analysis of such a political discourse phenomenology provides several tools that can help us to understand the background of the discourse, the severity of the crisis, the level of expertise of the participants, the source of the information, discourse strategies and what arguments the audience accepts. These tools allow a unique phenomenological approach towards political discourse analysis.
46. Schutzian Research: Volume > 12
Jochem Kotthaus The Religious Experience of Setting Off Emergency Flares?: Reflections on a Soccer Fan’s Answer to the Heretical Imperative
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The vague idea of likening soccer to religion, specifically in watching soccer as a fan, is widespread spread in both everyday life media and academia. The slightly muddled discourse can be clarified by focusing on two variations, differentiating between sport in religion and sport as religion. Concentrating on sport as a form of religious activity and experience, it seems obvious that one’s theoretical framework here connects Durkheim’s elevation of formerly profane objects to a Sacred with concepts of individualization and secularization. Yet, taking a critical look from the perspective of Luckmann’s theory of invisible or private religion, religion ought to be more narrowly conceived as a specific experience of transcendency. Employing Berger, it is plausible to employ a different rationale, leading to the conclusion that fandom constitutes a mimicry-religion. Mimicry-religion adheres to the inclination of the Self to understand his or her experience as religious for the need of a nomos, a legitimization of social institutionalizations.
47. Schutzian Research: Volume > 12
Jerry Williams Considering Finite Provinces of Meaning: The Problem of Communication in the Social Sciences
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This essay considers social science as a finite province of meaning. It is argued that teasing out common-sense meanings from social scientific conceptions is difficult because the meanings of scientific concepts are often veiled in life-worldly taken-for-grantedness. If social scientists have successfully created a scientific province of meaning, attempts to communicate findings outside of this reduced sphere of science should be somewhat problematic.
48. Schutzian Research: Volume > 13
Michael D. Barber Introduction to Schutzian Research 13
49. Schutzian Research: Volume > 13
George D. Yancy The Danger of White Innocence: Being a Stranger in One’s Own “Home”
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This paper explores how whiteness as the transcendental norm shapes the meaning structure of Black-being-in-the-world. If home is a place, a site, a dwelling of acceptance, where one is allowed to feel safe, to relax, to let one’s guard down, then being Black in white supremacist America is anathema to being at home for Black people. Indeed, to be Black is to be a stranger, something “strange,” “scary,” “dangerous,” an “outsider.” To be Black within white America belies what it means to dwell, to reside, to rest. In other words, one’s sense of racialized Black embodiment remains on guard, unsettled, hyperalert. Phenomenologically, there is a profound sense of alienation, where one’s racialized body is ostracized and shunned. On this score, I examine, within the mundane context of an elevator, how the dynamics of intersubjectivity and sociality are strained (or even placed under erasure) through the dynamics of the white gaze. The white gaze, among other things, functions to police the meaning of the Black body and attempts to de-subjectify Black embodiment. In this way, the only real perspective is white. Black bodies are deemed devoid of a perspective on the world as there is no subjectivity, no sense of agential meaning making. One might say that Black people, on this view, constitute an essence, a typified mode of being. Unlike the existentialist thesis where existence precedes essence, Black people are locked into an objecthood, a fungible and fixed essence. This racial and racist myth is what, for Schutz, would collapse the importance that he places on intersubjectivity and sociality. Indeed, within this paper, I delineate the threatening, necro-political dimensions of whiteness that I experienced after writing the well-known article “Dear White America.” That experience cemented, for me, and for many other readers, what it means to occupy the residence of whiteness, an abode that can take one’s life in the blink of an eye. The experience of the racialized stranger means walking a tightrope, a precarious situation where one flirts with death, where one’s body is deemed hypersexual, inferior, frightening, and monstrous. Based upon this construction, the white body is deemed the site of virtue, safety, deliverer, protector of all things white and pure. Think here of “the white man’s burden” or the idea of “white manifest destiny.” Stain, blemish, taint, and defilement are indelible markers of the stranger. And based upon the logics of racial purity, one must extinguish the “vermin,” the “criminals,” the “rapists.” While I don’t explore this within the paper, Schutz scholars will immediately recognize the genocidal implications of what would have been at stake for Schutz had he not escaped Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic gaze and his Anschluss of Austria. My sense is that Schutz would have understood not just the horrors of white racism but would appreciate the necessity of theorizing the need to rethink home as existentially capacious and intersubjectively vibrant. I conclude this paper by thinking through the concept of “breakdown”, delineating its spatial, phenomenological, and subjectively embodied implications. Breakdown, as I use the term, upends forms of white racialized habituation, creating possible embodied psychic space for what I term un-suturing, which involves undoing the machinations of white safety in the face of alterity, where the stranger invokes wonder and self-critique.
50. Schutzian Research: Volume > 13
Hermilio Santos, Priscila Susin Relevance and Biographical Experience in Urban Social Research
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This paper analyses how the epistemological foundation proposed by Alfred Schutz, especially his notion of system of relevance, can adequately inform interpretive social research that adopts biographical narrative interviews and the method of biographical case reconstruction. We exemplify this adequacy between Schutz’s theory and the interpretive biographical approach by exploring a research project conducted in favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We claim that social research on urban development and social inequalities can greatly benefit from this type of phenomenologically based perspective because it offers a longitudinal and in-depth understanding of individuals’ life courses and experiences in urban everyday life and how they unfold always intertwined with a wide range of different historical and cultural experiences, contexts, and meanings.
51. Schutzian Research: Volume > 13
Thomas S. Eberle A Study in Xenological Phenomenology: Alfred Schutz’s Stranger Revisited
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This keynote takes a fresh look at Schutz’s essay on “The Stranger” of 1944. After a brief reflection on the probably universal topos of the stranger, it discerns three different kinds of strangeness in that essay: 1. the otherness of the other and the inaccessibility of the other’s experiences; 2. the strangeness vs. familiarity of elements of knowledge; and 3. the social acceptance by the in-group. Then some methodological implications of Schutz’s approach are pondered, his somewhat hidden offer of an alternative sociology and the postulate of adequacy. Subsequently, two critical issues are discussed: Schutz’s handling of values and value-relations and his complete omission of affects and emotions in spite of all the hardship the (Jewish) immigrants at that time suffered from. An outlook on future Schutzian research concludes the paper.
52. Schutzian Research: Volume > 13
Erik Garrett Strangeness of the Strange: Strangeness and Proximity in Schutz, Husserl, and Levinas
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This article reexamines Alfred Schutz’s famous 1944 Stranger essay and the initial criticism of Aron Gurwitsch. I side with Schutz in thinking of the refugee as a special type of stranger. Then to respond to the charge that the essay is not philosophical enough from Gurwitsch, I read Schutz’s notion of the strange with Husserl’s notion of homeworld and Levinas’s notion of fecundity. This allows us to see the philosophical depth of doing a phenomenology of the stranger and strangeness.