The Foundation of an Interpretative Sociology: A Critical Review of the Attempts of George H. Mead and Alfred Schutz

Human Studies 31 (2):157-177 (2008)

George H. Mead and Alfred Schutz proposed foundations for an interpretative sociology from opposite standpoints. Mead accepted the objective meaning structure a priori. His problem became therefore the explanation of the individuality and creativity of human actors in his social behavioristic approach. In contrast, Schutz started from the subjective consciousness of an isolated actor as a result of a phenomenological reduction. He was concerned with the problem of explaining the possibility of this isolated actor’s perceiving other actors in their existence, their concreteness, and the motives for their behavior. I treat these two approaches and their associated problems as equally relevant. My evaluation is based on their success in solving their specific problems. The aim is to decide which of the two approaches provides the more adequate foundation for an interpretative sociology.
Keywords Alfred Schutz  Edmund Husserl  George H. Mead  Individuality  Interpretative sociology  Intersubjectivity  Phenomenological reduction
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DOI 10.1007/s10746-008-9082-0
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Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John R. Searle - 1969 - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (79):172-179.
The Phenomenology of the Social World*[1932].Alfred Schutz - 2007 - In Craig J. Calhoun (ed.), Contemporary Sociological Theory. Blackwell. pp. 2--32.
Collected Papers.Colin McGinn & Gareth Evans - 1988 - Philosophical Review 97 (2):278.
Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience.Erving Goffman - 1979 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 39 (4):601-602.

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