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81. Schutzian Research: Volume > 8
Michael M. Hanke Schutz’ Semiotics and the Symbolic Construction of Reality
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Some decades before Umberto Eco refounded semiotics in the sixties, Alfred Schutz had already elaborated a theory on signs and symbols. Moreover, as Schutz himself affirms, neither was he the first to do so. The thoughts of Charles Sanders Peirce had already clearly influenced American pragmatism, and thinkers like George Herbert Mead and Ernst Cassirer had developed a theory of symbols, both referred to by Schutz in his later works. Nonetheless, sign theory was already present in his first book, Der sinnhafte Aufbau der sozialen Welt, and can be traced to the influence of Edmund Husserl. Schutz’s focus on the analysis of the relationship between individual and society fomented his perception of the importance of intermediary communication and sign processes as the setting and interpretation of signs, “Zeichensetzung und Zeichendeutung”, reflections that in his later working phase resulted in a proper sign theory, which is analyzed in the following article. Based on Husserl’s concept of pairing, Schutz here develops his theory of appresentational references, comprising a subdivision of: marks, indications, signs and symbols. This involves the concept of representation, a relationship between the signifier and the signified, and a subjective as well as constructive interpretation by actors. Consequently, this concept involves an objective sign system, a social situation and, as inserted into a process of communication, complementary producers (senders) and receptors (receivers) of signs and symbols. In the final comments the question is addressed whether, and in what sense, given the preceding theory of appresentational references, Schutz would hold that reality is a symbolic construction, as proposes the title of the 2016 conference on Schutz in Tokyo, The Symbolic Construction of Reality.
82. Schutzian Research: Volume > 8
Carlos Belvedere Why I cannot dance the Tango: Reflections of an incompetent member of the “milongas porteñas”
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The purpose of this paper is to discuss the idea that members are fully competent at what they do. With that aim, I start with a Schutzian and Ethno­methodological account of what it is like to be a member of the tango scene in the dance halls of Buenos Aires. I specify different degrees and kinds of competences. On the one hand, there are fully competent members (sanctioned dancers) and incompetent members (the “beginners”). The incompetent members are the vast majority in comparison to the few fully competent ones. On the other hand, there are technically competent members and socially competent ones. Technical competence is very hard to acquire, thus it is very rare. Social competences, instead, are accessible to all members. These different ways of being a member are heterogeneous and indicate a significant diversity of competences and skills. I conclude that not all members are alike and that each one is challenged in a particular way.
83. Schutzian Research: Volume > 8
Frederick J. Wertz Outline of the Relationship Among Transcendental Phenomenology, Phenomenological Psychology, and the Sciences of Persons
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Husserl focused perhaps more than any other philosopher on the relationship between philosophy and psychology. This problem was important to him because the European project of universal science must include sciences of consciousness that address questions of meaning, value and purpose so crucial for humanity. This paper provides a sketch of the later Husserl’s thinking on this issue in order to clarify the relationships among transcendental philosophy as the mother of the sciences, psychology as the foundational mental science, and the various regional sciences of persons. Radicalizing and extending the transcendental tradition to free philosophy from naturalism, Husserl developed methods and fundamental concepts for understanding consciousness in its distinctive world constituting function. In parallel fashion, Husserl traced the historical failures of psychology to its naturalistic philosophy, from which he liberated the discipline by means of phenomenological reflections on the intentional property of its subject matter. This pure focus on mental processes resulted in the clarification of the transcendental phenomenological foundation of psychology as well as a recognition of the paradoxical manner in which psychological processes are both world constituting and mundanely present in the lives of persons. The apperceptive synthesis of transcendental consciousness and mundane embodiment in the identification of the person is proposed as essential for a non-naturalistic, intentional psychology, which provides appropriate concepts and the method of intentional analysis for such sciences of persons as sociology, history, literary studies, and religious studies. The problems, means, and inevitable inadequacies of communicating transcendental insights in language are discussed. Analysis of the complexity of living persons discloses their transcendental dimension in the manifolds their mundane activities and in their products, including use, cultural, and art objects as well as social institutions. Attention is drawn to resources in phenomenology beyond Husserl and in the genuine psychological intuitions of non-phenomenologists for generating non-naturalistic, phenomenologically grounded person sciences.
84. Schutzian Research: Volume > 8
Hermílio Santos On Biography: A Schutzian Perspective
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The paper explores biographical experiences for the understanding of social phenomena, both in the writings of Alfred Schutz himself and in sociological empirical approaches based on his work. Schutz handles biography at least in two different ways: as a manner to investigate the “because” motives for one’s action and as a way to exemplify his theoretical considerations. The first step will be to discuss the biographical experience as a key aspect to understand the motivation for action. It will be argued that for Schutz, biography is not exclusively an individual life’s trajectory, but results of both individual and social experiences, synthesized on the individual relevance systems, which are embedded by the relevance systems of the community in which one has been socialized. In the second step the paper verifies how Schutz deals with his own biographical experiences to discuss theoretical and empirical aspects of his sociology. Examples of the first kind of use of biography by Schutz are, for instance, “The Stranger” and “The Homecomer”, which will be considered in this paper. A third step aims to discuss how these writings influenced empirical researches in sociology based on biographical narratives as a way to access empirically the social construction of reality.
85. Schutzian Research: Volume > 9
Ken Takakusa Inconsistency Between Solitary Ego and the Social World?: Becoming and Meaning in Alfred Schutz
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This paper aims to show the logical consistency between the subjective and the intersubjective constitution of meaning in Alfred Schutz by revealing his insight into the dynamic character of reality. In reconstructing what is implied by the proposition “the problem of meaning is a time problem,” this paper reveals that the interrelationship between the past and the present, namely “becoming,” is fundamental to meaning-constitution. By critically introducing the Bergsonian view of the tension between the durée and its symbolization, Schutz thematizes our meaningful reality in the fluidity. From this perspective, the intersubjective world is characterized as a continuous dynamic reality taken for granted by the actors. While subjectivity, as a function of articulating experiences in becoming, is a condition of the intersubjective world, the intersubjective process enables the taken-for-grantedness of subjective reality. Schutzian phenomenology may lead to a theory of the complexity and uncertainty of social reality.
86. Schutzian Research: Volume > 9
Jerry Williams Growing Old: On Becoming a Stranger
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This essay considers how normal aging (without disease or cognitive impairment) might over the long run be thought of as undermining to “thinking as usual” in a society undergoing rapid social change. Informed by the phenomenology of Alfred Schutz, the criteria for thinking as usual are considered. Derived from his essay “The Stranger,” these criteria were developed by Schutz about the experience of an immigrant stranger approaching a new culture (Schutz 1964a). Here it is argued that they might also help us better understand the experience of aging. It is suggested that in the context of social change older people can, under the right circumstances, feel like strangers in the culture they have known all their lives.
87. Schutzian Research: Volume > 9
Jochen Dreher Lester Embree: Biography
88. Schutzian Research: Volume > 9
Michael D. Barber Introduction to Schutzian Research 9
89. Schutzian Research: Volume > 9
Teppei Sekimizu The Foundations of Support Relationship for Hikikomori People: Self-determination, Shared-determination, and Self-definition
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Hikikomori has been one of the social problems in Japan since late 1990s. This term refers to young people who do not go to school or work and stay at home. The aim of this paper is to criticize the current framework of support for them, and to clarify the foundations of a support relationship for them by referring to interview data from hikikomori people and to Alfred Schutz’s theoretical framework. It is not only possible, but also important, to set up basic principles for supporting them, given that a death of a hikikomori person occurred in a private institution which trained hikikomori people in 2006. This paper points out the problems of one mainstream model of the hikikomori support relationship, paternalism, and develops the following 3 principles as the foundation of hikikomori support based on empirical and theoretical considerations: (1) to respect self-determination, (2) to value consensus making in shared-determination, and (3) to take account of the biographically determined, intersubjective foundation at both levels of self-definition and decision making.
90. Schutzian Research: Volume > 9
William McKenna Reflective Analysis and Phenomenology
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In one of his last presentations, Lester Embree “urged” that the expression “reflective analysis” be used as an alternative name for “phenomenology.” I will briefly characterize what Lester produced as “reflective analysis” in his work and will speculate on why he suggested this alternative expression. I will also say what I think the advantage of this alternative name would be.
91. Schutzian Research: Volume > 9
Hisashi Nasu Lester Embree and the Networks of Phenomenologists in China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan
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Lester Embree’s contributions to phenomenology were, in my opinion, based on his three kinds of activities, which are indissolubly connected with each other: first, teaching activities, second, publication and presentation activities, and third, organization activities. Since I was not his student and had no experience attending his classes, I cannot say anything about his teaching activities with conviction. So I would like to focus in this essay mainly on his organizing activities in the East-Asian countries, and his presentations in phenomenological conferences or colloquiums.
92. Schutzian Research: Volume > 9
Michael Barber Embree and Cairns on Phenomenology and Psychology
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This article compares and contrasts Dorion Cairn’s treatment of the relationship between phenomenology and psychology with Embree’s handling of that same topic. Embree, who to a great degree aligns with Schutz, and Cairns converge on the treatment of behaviorism. However, fundamental differences appear in their contrasting approaches to psychology, with Cairns seeking to uphold the distinctiveness of philosophy/phenomenology over against psychology and Embree/Schutz inclining toward a more collaborative engagement with psychology. Their differences reflect their preference for transcendental philosophy or phenomenological psychology, both of which possible preferences were clearly recognized by Edmund Husserl in his “Nachwort zu meinen Ideen.” These preferences in turn have to do with the ultimate philosophical purposes each author is pursuing.
93. Schutzian Research: Volume > 9
Carlos Belevedere Lester Embree on ‘Collective Subjects’
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Embree claimed that Schutz did not remain a methodological individualist during all of his academic life since he came to consider the individual as an abstractum abstracted from a concrete collective life. In this view, the socio-historical world cannot be understood as a mere structure of individuals because it also contains groups that are related one to another in diverse ways and which are the concrete subject of the social world. I stress three major contributions of Embree to social phenomenology: to have shown the deficiencies of methodological individualism because it conceals that the social world is a world of groups; to have found a phenomenological way to speak of collective subjects not involving metaphysical mystifications; and to have found a different way to access phenomena by re-specifying the first person perspective as “first person plural.”
94. Schutzian Research: Volume > 9
Andreas Goettlich Passing on the Baton: Lester Embree’s Involvement with the Work of Alfred Schutz
95. Social Imaginaries: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Suzi Adams, Paul Blokker, Natalie J. Doyle, John W. M. Krummel, Jeremy C. A. Smith Social Imaginaries in Debate
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Investigations into social imaginaries have burgeoned in recent years. From ‘the capitalist imaginary’ to the ‘democratic imaginary’, from the ‘ecological imaginary’ to ‘the global imaginary’ – and beyond – the social imaginaries field has expanded across disciplines and beyond the academy. The recent debates on social imaginaries and potential new imaginaries reveal a recognisable field and paradigm-in-the-making. We argue that Castoriadis, Ricoeur, and Taylor have articulated the most important theoretical frameworks for understanding social imaginaries, although the field as a whole remains heterogeneous. We further argue that the notion of social imaginaries draws on the modern understanding of the imagination as authentically creative (as opposed to imitative). We contend that an elaboration of social imaginaries involves a significant, qualitative shift in the understanding of societies as collectively and politically-(auto)instituted formations that are irreducible to inter-subjectivity or systemic logics. After marking out the contours of the field and recounting a philosophical history of the imagination (including deliberations on the reproductive and creative imaginations, as well as consideration of contemporary Japanese contributions), the essay turns to debates on social imaginaries in more concrete contexts, specifically political-economic imaginaries, the ecological imaginary, multiple modernities and their inter-civilisational encounters. The social imaginaries field imparts powerful messages for the human sciences and wider publics. In particular, social imaginaries hold significant implications for ontological, phenomenological and philosophical anthropological questions; for the cultural, social, and politicalhorizons of contemporary worlds; and for ecological and economic phenomena (including their manifest crises). The essay concludes with the argumentthat social imaginaries as a paradigm-in-the-making offers valuable means by which movements towards social change can be elucidated as well providingan open horizon for the critiques of existing social practices.
96. Social Imaginaries: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Peter Wagner Interpreting the Present – a Research Programme
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Sociologists have increasingly adopted the insight that ‘modern societies’ undergo major historical transformations; they are not stable or undergoingonly smooth social change once their basic institutional structure has been established. There is even some broad agreement that the late twentieth century witnessed the most recent one of those major transformations leading into the present time – variously characterized by adding adjectives such as ‘reflexive’, ‘global’ or simply ‘new’ to modernity. However, neither the dynamics of the recent social transformation nor the characteristic features of the present social constellation have been adequately grasped yet.Rather than assuming a socio-structural or politico-institutional perspective, as they dominate in sociology and political science respectively, this articleconcentrates on the way in which current social practices are experienced and interpreted by the human beings who enact them as parts of a common worldthat they inhabit together. It will be suggested that current interpretations are shaped by the experience of the dismantling of ‘organized modernity’ from the 1970s onwards and of the subsequent rise of a view of the world as shaped by parallel processes of ‘globalization’ and ‘individualization’, signalling the erasure of historical time and lived space, during the 1990s and early 2000s. In response to these experiences, we witness today a variety of interconnected attempts at re-interpretation of modernity, aiming at re-constituting spatiality and temporality. The re-constitution of meaningful time concerns most strongly questions of historical injustice, in terms of the present significance of past oppression and exclusion and in terms of the unequal effects of the instrumental transformation of the earth in the techno-industrial trajectory of modernity. The re-constitution of meaningful space focuses on the relation between the political form of a spatially circumscribed democracy and the economic practices of expansionist capitalism as well as on the spatial co-existence of a plurality of ways of world-interpretation.
97. Social Imaginaries: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Johann P. Arnason Introduction to Castoriadis’s The Imaginary as Such
98. Social Imaginaries: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
John W. M. Krummel Introduction to Nakamura Yūjirō and his Work
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Nakamura Yūjirō (中村雄二郎) (1925-) is one of the more significant philosophers of contemporary Japan. He graduated from the Faculty of Literature at the University of Tokyo in 1950 and spent his teaching career from 1965 to 1995 at Meiji University, specializing in philosophy and intellectual history. Probably the most important theme that reappears throughout Nakamura’s philosophical project of his mature years is the concept of ‘common sense’ (kyōtsū kankaku 共通感覚). There are additional issues that are important in his philosophy, such as the imagination and place. In the following I touch upon these concepts while outlining his general trajectory leading up to, and providing the context for, the essay following this introduction. And I end with a discussion of the relevance of this piece as well as his general project. I then briefly describe the context for the essay.
99. Social Imaginaries: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Nakamura Yūjirō, John W. M. Krummel ‘The Logic of Place’ and Common Sense
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The essay is a written version of a talk Nakamura Yūjirō gave at the College international de philosophie in Paris in 1983. In the talk Nakamura connects the issue of common sense in his own work to that of place in Nishida Kitarō and the creative imagination in Miki Kiyoshi. He presents this connection between the notions of common sense, imagination, and place as constituting one important thread in contemporary Japanese philosophy. He begins by discussing the significance of place (basho) that is being rediscovered today in response to the shortcomings of the modern Western paradigm, and discusses it in its various senses, such as ontological ground or substratum, the body, symbolic space, and linguistic or discursive topos in ancient rhetoric. He then relates this issue to the philosophy of place Nishida developed in the late 1920s, and after providing an explication of Nishida’s theory, discusses it further in light of some linguistic and psychological theories. Nakamura goes on to discuss his own interest in the notion of common sense traceable to Aristotle and its connection to the rhetorical concept of topos, and Miki’s development of the notion of the imagination in the 1930s in response to Nishida’s theory. And in doing so he ties all three—common sense, place, and imagination—together as suggestive of an alternative to the modern Cartesian standpoint of the rational subject that has constituted the traditional paradigm of the modern West.
100. Social Imaginaries: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Suzi Adams Johann Arnason on Castoriadis and Modernity: Introduction to “The Imaginary Dimensions of Modernity”