The symbol and the theory of the life-world: “The transcendences of the life-world and their overcoming by signs and symbols”

Human Studies 26 (2):141-163 (2003)
This essay presents a phenomenological analysis of the functioning of symbols as elements of the life-world with the purpose of demonstrating the interrelationship of individual and society. On the basis of Alfred Schutz''s theory of the life-world, signs and symbols are viewed as mechanisms by means of which the individual can overcome the transcendences posed by time, space, the world of the Other, and multiple realities which confront him or her. Accordingly, the individual''s life-world divides itself into the dimensions of time, space, the social world and various reality spheres which form the boundaries or transcendences that the I has to understand and integrate. Signs and symbols are described as appresentational modes which stand for experiences originating in the different spheres of the life-world within the world of everyday life, within which they can be communicated, thereby establishing intersubjectivity. Schutz''s theory of the symbol explains how social entities – such as nations, states or religious groups – are symbolically integrated to become components of the individual''s life-world. The following paper reconstructs Schutz''s concept of the symbol as a crucial component of his theory of the life-world, which is seen as an outstanding phenomenological contribution to the theory of the sign and the symbol in general.
Keywords phenomenology  Schutz  Husserl  Cassirer  Jaspers  Luckmann  life-world  symbol  sign  intersubjectivity  communication
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1024014620368
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,974
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Thomas Luckmann (1970). On the Boundaries of the Social World. In Alfred Schutz & Maurice Alexander Natanson (eds.), Phenomenology and Social Reality. The Hague,Nijhoff 73--100.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

42 ( #79,289 of 1,725,806 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #166,958 of 1,725,806 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.