A Study in Xenological Phenomenology: Alfred Schutz’s Stranger Revisited

Schutzian Research 13:27-50 (2021)
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Abstract

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 immigrants at that time suffered from. An outlook on future Schutzian research concludes the paper.

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