Alfred Schütz

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Alfred Schutz (* 13. April 1899 in Vienna , † 20th May 1959 in New York City ) was a from Austria originating banker , lawyer , philosopher and sociologist , who considered the founder of phenomenological sociology applies and - based on Edmund Husserl , Henri Bergson and Max Weber - dedicated to the question of intersubjectivity .

Biographical background

Professional background

Born on April 13, 1899 in Vienna as the son of Jewish parents, Alfred Schütz obtained his school-leaving certificate (“Notmatura”) prematurely in 1917 at the Vienna Esterhazy High School and volunteered for service in the Austro-Hungarian Army in March of the same year . After the end of the First World War , Schütz began studying law and social sciences at the University of Vienna , completed the state examinations in political science and law as well as Rigorosa in 1921, and acquired the academic degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence . From 1921 to 1925 he was secretary of the Austrian Bankers Association and from 1924 worked as legal advisor to the Viennese banking house Kompass Allgemeine Kredit- und Garantiebank . From 1929 Schütz served as officer for Wiener Privatbank Reitler & Co. operates. After the bank was taken over by the National Socialists in 1938 and Schütz was dismissed, Schütz went into exile in France . There he worked as legal advisor for the Parisian bank R. Gaston-Dreyfus & Co. and helped other Jews to escape from the Greater German Reich . Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, Schütz and his family moved to New York ( USA ) in July 1939 , where they joined Emil Reitler (1886–1949), the former owner of the Reitler & Co. bank , and his Viennese professional colleagues Robert Lambert and Paul Jeral on. Together they advised former customers of Reitler & Co. on financial issues. After the war, Schütz repeatedly traveled to Europe to revive old business contacts. During his work as a financial advisor, Alfred Schütz devoted himself to phenomenological sociology only in his spare time. It was only when Alfred Schütz got a job as Full Professor of Sociology and Social Psychology at the New School for Social Research in New York in 1956 that he was able to afford financially to give up his work as a banker and devote himself fully to his scientific work for the first time.

Scientific career

Schütz had studied law , economics and philosophy and his thinking was u. a. shaped by the “ Austrian School of Economics” founded by Carl Menger at the end of the 19th century . Menger's students Friedrich von Wieser and Ludwig von Mises were Schütz's teachers in Vienna, as well as the legal philosopher Hans Kelsen and Felix Kaufmann, who was close to the Vienna Circle . His friends Fritz Machlup and Erich Vögelin (in the USA: Eric Voegelin ) also exerted intellectual influence on Schütz, the latter encouraging him to read Henri Bergson , an important exponent of the 19th century philosophy of life , and Edmund Husserl , the founder of phenomenology . In 1932 Schütz published his first monograph, The Meaningful Structure of the Social World, and was the only one during his lifetime . An introduction to the understanding sociology (1932) that had a lasting influence on the social sciences. His friendship with Aron Gurwitsch , a philosopher from Lithuania who Schütz met in Paris, intensified his preoccupation with Husserl's phenomenology.

The term phenomenology was coined by Edmund Husserl and describes those things that are given to us as phenomena ("I am, everything not-I is just a phenomenon"). Husserl had attempted to exclude neuropsychological findings because, in his opinion, the meaning lies on a level that is inaccessible. So that the true essence of a thing can be recognized, we would have to undertake a (phenomenological) reduction that would allow us a neutral view of the things in life (see also “ lifeworld ”). For Husserl, thinking itself did not exist, since we could only ever “think” of something. Schütz took up Husserl's phenomenology and his conception of the lifeworld as an intersubjectively meaningful world. Against this background he asked about the processes of the social constitution of meaning. In The Meaningful Structure of the Social World Schütz tried to establish Max Weber's “understanding sociology” phenomenologically. Based on Husserl's philosophy of the lifeworld, Schütz designed a sociology of everyday life.

In his American exile, Schütz found it difficult to make contact with the scientific community, which at the time was dominated by Talcott Parsons and his structural functionalism . The exchange between Schütz and Parsons, which their correspondence documents, ultimately failed. Schütz found access to American social science in a different way; on the one hand he became a board member of the International Society of Phenomenology and in 1941 co-editor of the journal Philosophy and Phenomenological Research founded by Marvin Farber , on the other hand he began to teach in 1943 at the New School for Social Research in New York. This extraordinary university had set itself the goal of supporting social scientists of European origin who had emigrated to the USA. From 1952 to 1956 Schütz was at the New School Chair of the philosophy department and was finally appointed Full Professor of Sociology and Social Psychology in 1956 . But he died three years later, in 1959. His main work, Structures of the Lifeworld , which was planned and already started , was completed posthumously by his student Thomas Luckmann . Likewise, a large part of his articles only appeared posthumously, collected in Collected Papers I-III (1962, 1964, 1966), (German: Gesammelte Schriften I-III , 1971).

The following are the theoretical position is to be shown, the contactor in the meaningful construction of the social world (1932), in Reflections on the Problem of Relevance (1970) (German: The problem of relevance 1971) has developed and in the articles, which in Collected Papers I-III (1962, 1964, 1966) and Collected Essays I-III (1971).

The phenomenological foundation of sociology

In his endeavor to develop a philosophical foundation for the social sciences, and in particular sociology , Alfred Schütz followed Max Weber's plan to establish sociology as a strict science based on action theory. Schütz criticizes Weber for having created the tools to understand the social meaning of actions, but failing to provide a philosophical justification for the understanding of meaning. For Weber, social action consists in linking behavior and subjective meaning. In his “Understanding Sociology” the main aim is to clarify how a scientific observer can grasp the subjective meaning that an actor associates with his actions. He denies that this meaning is more unadulterated or more reliably accessible to the actor himself than to the scientific observer. Schütz, on the other hand, starts with the actor himself and asks about the constitution of subjective meaning, i.e. H. how the actor himself creates and experiences meaning. The subjective meaning of an action, as experienced by the agent himself, is not accessible to the scientific observer and his understanding can never be identical to that of the agent.

This problem of understanding others does not only affect the relationship between scientist and acting subject. If the meaning of an action is only understandable to the person who performs it, but not to the “other”, the question arises as to how our everyday communication can be perceived as functioning. How is it possible to live together in society without knowing the subjective meaning that others associate with their actions? According to Schütz, actors use certain methods in everyday life that enable them to assume an intersubjectively shared meaning. He examines the conditions and principles that guide this generation of intersubjective meaning.

Social action, meaning and subjectivity

For the time being, the Schütz analysis is based on the ego, the experience of the lonely self. Following Bergson , meaningful action for Schütz only arises when the ego reflects on past experiences. While an action is being carried out, i.e. during the action itself, the actor cannot ascribe any meaning to it. Only by referring to the draft or plan that led to the action can it develop a subjective meaning. “ Only what is experienced is meaningful, not the experience ” ( The meaningful structure of the social world : p. 49). Schütz makes a strict distinction between acting as an activity (Latin actio ) and acting as a conceptual draft ( actum ), whereby the acting finds meaning in the action (in the " draft of action"). This separation between action and action distinguishes Schütz's approach from Weber's, which Schütz criticizes:

Weber makes no distinction between acting as a process and completed action, between the meaning of creating and the meaning of the product, between the meaning of one's own and others' actions, or between one's own and other experiences, between self-understanding and understanding others. He does not ask about the special constitution of the sense for the agent, not about the modifications that this sense experiences for the partner in the social world or for the outside observer, nor about the peculiar foundational connection between the self-psychic and the other-psychological, its clarification for a precise recording of the phenomenon of “understanding others” is indispensable ”( The meaningful structure of the social world : p. 5).

In dealing with Weber's concept of meaning, Schütz represents five layers of meaning. On the level of the first layer, meaning is independent of a specific other, it is rather ascribed to things in the environment (e.g. a door can be opened). The second concept of meaning is directed towards the existence of another (e.g. because someone knocks, I open the door), while the third anticipates the behavior of the other (I open the door and say hello). In the fourth layer of meaning there is a mutual behavioral orientation, in which the actions of the actor are based on the expected behavior of the other (I think about whether I should receive him or not). From these four layers a constitutive context of meaning arises for the agent himself, i.e. H. for his own understanding of the plot. Schütz distinguishes from this, however, the fifth level of meaning, that of meaning interpretation by others. The task of sociologists as a possible “other” is to understand the agent's four-layered constitution of meaning.

In summary, Schütz's approach can be described as a theory of social action, not social action. Beyond the restriction to completed actions, Schütz only goes into those consciousness experiences that are related to an alter ego (i.e. other I), by which he means the other as a being that is conscious, not just the body. An essential element of the plot, which Schütz was inspired to consider by the theories of William James , is the will to carry it out, the decision to implement the plot.

The difference between the perspectives of ego and age is of fundamental importance for Schütz and is also evident in his concept of the motif . In his constitutional analysis, in which he does not analyze things, i.e. the social as such, but how they affect us and how we perceive them, he makes the distinction between “around” motifs and “because” motifs . The former form the outline of the action, which is aimed at the future realization of the action, while the latter give the reasons (in the biographical past of the actor) for its development. Example of a “around” motif: The perpetrator committed the attack to get the victim's money. First the action plan takes place, then the actual action takes place - here it is described how it comes to action. Example of a “because” motif: The perpetrator committed the attack because he came from a poor background. This motif shows how the action plan comes about.

This approach enables a personal (subjective) ideal type construction that enables the understanding of action through comparison with everyday social-worldly situation elements (even if it is through post-hoc explanations). The ideal type mentioned here is to be seen as a unit of measurement, but not as a value to strive for. When it comes to the question of the motive of an action, the perspective is decisive: The in order to motive represents the meaning of the action as it is directly understood by the actor himself. The observer has to ask what the actor intends, what meaning he himself gives to his action in order to open up the in-order motive. With regard to the Weil motif, the observer and the doer are in a similar situation. Since the background for the creation of the draft of the action lies in the past and is not directly related to the action, the actor must also behave towards himself as an observer in order to investigate his because motives. He does not have privileged access to them.

Everyday life and sociology

That of Husserl derived concept of life-world , the contactor as " overall context of the sphere of life " ( Collected Essays I : 284) conceives, writes the intersubjectively meaningful world to participate in the people through their everyday actions, by their natural (ie pre-scientific) experience . In the early 1940s, Schütz's work took a turn towards the sociology of everyday life, which was based on this life-world version. The reason for Schütz's distancing from the phenomenological reduction and for his turn to phenomena of the lifeworld and to mundane intersubjectivity is his disappointment with Husserl's Fifth Cartesian Meditation . In it Schütz does not find the hoped-for solution to the intersubjectivity problem; In his opinion, Husserl does not succeed in “ transcendentally deriving the intersubjectivity of all knowing and thinking ”, as Schütz had expected in the meaningful structure ( The meaningful structure of the social world : p. 30). Instead, he turns to Max Scheler in connection with the possibility of intersubjectivity . His assumption that the experience of the community, of the we, precedes every experience of the I and is a foundation for this, proves the importance of everyday phenomena for Schütz. Schütz is therefore interested in sociality as a matter of the lifeworld, not as a phenomenological-transcendental one. As a sociology of everyday life, sociology has to devote itself to the research of mundane intersubjectivity, in particular it should examine the " invariant intrinsic structures [...] of a community " ( Collected Essays I : p. 138). Schütz's goal is also expressed in the title of his major work, Structures of the Lifeworld, completed by Thomas Luckmann .

The structure of the lifeworld is shaped by the “natural attitude”, which makes the existence of his everyday world, the experiences he has in it, and the meanings that things have in it appear natural and unquestionable. As a whole, this lifeworld cannot be questioned, at most individual aspects can be questioned. People orientate themselves in it by following pragmatic maxims and establishing action routines. The lifeworld consequently also derives its stability from the actor's confidence that experiences and situations will shape themselves uniformly and that, building on his experiences, he will be able to use certain skills in the future and carry out actions that have already proven themselves in the past.

The lifeworld has always been a social world that precedes the individual and was experienced and interpreted by previous generations. In the sense that it is shared with other people and interpreted and communicated together, it is an intersubjective world and all knowledge of and in it is intersubjective. The store of knowledge to which a person draws is only to a very small extent personal; Much of the knowledge is socially derived in that it is socially developed and passed on. In Schütz's view, knowledge is the sum of all skills, expectations and convictions, all perception patterns and recipes for action, regardless of whether they would be considered true in the scientific sense, provided they are viewed as knowledge by a social group.

In his essay On Multiple Realities (1945), clearly influenced by William James , Schütz's interest in the lifeworld and its context of meaning, which develops in everyday social relationships, manifests itself as an investigation of characteristics such as tension of consciousness and attention structure, relevance system and cognitive style. He developed the theory that within human experience there are diverse provinces of meaning (such as the everyday world, the world of dreams, games, science, religion, art, etc.) in which humans can participate. The world of everyday life occupies a prominent position, which as “paramount reality” represents the “ archetype of our experience of reality ” ( Collected Essays I : p. 267). This privileged position of the everyday world and of everyday knowledge also influences Schütz's conception of the relationship between science and everyday life. The world of everyday life differs from other provinces of meaning through the specific cognitive style of how reality is experienced. For example, the experience in everyday life with regard to the tension of consciousness stands out through the state of wakefulness, through full attention to reality, from the world of dreams, in which there is no interest in reality. Furthermore, the world of everyday life is characterized by the fact that there is no doubt about it and people experience themselves as agents in it, while the dreamer neither acts nor can influence external circumstances. An essential feature of the everyday world is its sociality; Everyday experience is fundamentally geared towards communication and social action. And finally, the specific self-experience and time perspective are characteristics that distinguish the everyday world from other areas of meaning and forms of world experience. In The Stranger: An Essay in Social Psychology (1944) and The Homecomer (1945), Schütz deals in more detail with the problems, especially the questioning of human identity, that the transition from one province of meaning to another can entail.

Just as the structure of our experience depends on the respective province of meaning, the everyday social world can also be subdivided according to the way in which the actions of others are accessible to the actor. Schütz differentiates between the social environment, the surrounding world and the pre-world and describes the different forms that the problem of intersubjective understanding assumes in the respective social spheres. Face-to-face interactions take place in the social environment; this is consequently distinguished by the immediate presence of old for the ego in one place and allows a direct reciprocal response to said and social actions. The success of intersubjective understanding is most likely with this type of social contact, since the interaction partners can mutually assure each other whether their interpretive schemes, their views of the “world” match and the possibility of communicative feedback is given. The social environment borders on the narrow core of the environment and represents all actors who can in principle be reached by the ego because they live at the same time, but are not in the same place. Knowledge of the other, their motives and contexts of meaning cannot be acquired directly. Ego has to orient itself towards standardized expectations and motives, which are often subject to strong social standardizations and norms (e.g. formal salutation in letters to strangers). The social pre-world cannot be reached either directly or indirectly for the actor, since they do not belong to his presence. He cannot make any contact and is dependent on a one-sided interpretation. The probability of intersubjective understanding is correspondingly low.

Typicity and relevance

The obstacles that stand in the way of intersubjective understanding, or at least complete understanding, differ depending on the social sphere. But how is understanding of others even conceivable? Schütz's general thesis of the existence of the alter ego may be regarded as a basic requirement for this, because only if it is assumed that the other is really and in principle of the same kind does the possibility of intersubjectivity exist. The specific sense that the other sets as a conscious in the same way, thinking and reminiscent being his acts which is deducible by the I examined the own consciousness services and sense Constitutions. In order to take the view of old age , the ego must therefore start from the assumption that the other also uses interpretation schemes, pursues motives for action and has structurally identical streams of thought, although these differ from the egos in their specific design. In addition to the trust that the other person generates knowledge about the world in a similar way, everyday action is also guided by the mostly unconscious assumption that the diversity of our knowledge about the world is based on the fact that the other person based on his or her biographical situation and its position in space assumes a perspective that is different from the ego's . Even if the difference in perspectives can never be completely canceled out, it can still be neutralized for specific interaction situations. For this purpose, according to Schütz, humans make use of the general thesis of the reciprocity of perspectives , which is based on two idealizations, namely the idealization of the interchangeability of viewpoints and the idealization of the correspondence of the relevance systems .

The idealization of the interchangeability of viewpoints builds the certainty that I would perceive the same thing as my counterpart if I were in his place and that I would experience things from the same perspective, distance and range as he does. In addition, I expect him to carry out the same idealization. The idealization of the correspondence of the relevance systems does not deny that I have specific interests and goals depending on my biographically determined situation and that I potentially perceive other things as relevant than the other person, it rather states that when trying to reach an understanding, these differences in the relevance systems can be ignored. For the current purpose that the other and I are pursuing, they are irrelevant. If the interlocutors carry out this mutual idealization, the result in everyday life is mostly not complete - because this is impossible - but there is sufficient correspondence of the relevance systems for communication .

To understand Schutz's approach to the solution of the intersubjectivity problem, it is necessary the terms typicality and relevance to explain. Schütz understands typicality as that phenomenon of the everyday world that allows us to experience people (and objects) as concrete and unique only in very specific situations; in most cases, however, we fall back on an understanding of other actors as typical representatives of a social role. Due to the linguistic mediation of a world of already established typifications into which we are born, we get to know dogs, friends etc. as typical dogs, typical friends etc. Typifications thus hide the particularity of a person (or an object), the diversity of their personality, by referring to previous experiences. This abstraction makes it easier for us to communicate. We do not have to start “from scratch” in interactions, but can rely on the fact that the standardized perception of the other and the assumption of typical motives and structures of meaning are sufficient to achieve an understanding against the practical background of the situation. In this sense, both ego and old are carriers of social roles, which are presented as a bundle of typical motives and patterns of action. Typifications are used and anticipated alternately by the interlocutors.

If I construct the other as only a partial self, as a performer of typical roles or functions, then this finds a correspondence in the process of self-typification, which begins as soon as I enter into a social working relationship with the other. I do not take part in such a relationship as a whole personality, but only with certain personality layers. By defining the role of the other, I assume a role myself ”( Collected Essays I : p. 21). To illustrate this with an example: If I enter a supermarket and ask an employee there which shelf French red wine can be found, I not only determine his role as a typical supermarket employee who gives me the information I want - more or less friendly - will grant, but also mine as a typical buyer. For the success of communication, it does not matter why I want to buy French red wine and not white wine and why in this supermarket, nor why he works for this supermarket or the like.

Although the everyday typifications are based on a personal, albeit socially influenced, relevance system, hardly any attention is paid to it itself. Relevance can be ascertained above all when everyday typing becomes a problem. In his essay, Structures of the Lifeworld ( Collected Essays III : p. 153), Schütz outlines his research interest with regard to the problem of relevance on the basis of three questions: “ How does a problem come about, namely that what has become questionable is worth asking appears? What is relevant for solving a problem? When does it appear to us to be 'sufficiently' resolved for our purposes that we discontinue further investigations? "

Schütz differentiates between three problem dimensions. The thematic relevance is marked as attention or interest for a particular slice of reality; this subject becomes my topic. Against the background of my typical experiences, the problem can experience relevance for interpretation or interpretation if I choose certain typifications and interpretation schemes to solve the problem from the knowledge pool available to me. From motivational relevance contactor speaks finally, if the plot designs are problematic in terms of the order-to and because designs. Social action in everyday life is based on the relevance structures. Since it should lead to intersubjective understanding through reciprocal motifs, social action is essentially characterized as a problem-solving situation of face-to-face interaction, according to Schütz. Every type is derived from such concrete “we-relationships”.

The fundamental experience of “we” in the immediacy of face-to-face interaction establishes the ability for intersubjective understanding. Since every typical is derived from a concrete “we-relationship”, this is also the case for typical understanding. This type determines the indirect experience of co-worldly, i.e. H. absent others. But the immediacy of an environmental relationship also shows a relation to other everyday worlds, to the co-world and the pre-world; and this reference has a typicity, it refers to acts of an indirect experience, and thus to what is derived, appresent (i.e. unperceived “co-consciousness” that is associatively connected with a present object or the like, e.g. the body appresentes age his inwardness, which is not immediately given for ego ). By establishing a connection to the appresent moments of other meaning provinces in the immediate presence that characterizes the “we-relationship”, Schütz creates a theory of situational transcendence. Everyday life, concrete interaction situations and environmental relationships are transcended by the typology and related to social, historical, mythical or scientific appresentations.

Science and everyday life

From what has been said so far, it has emerged that Schütz sees science as a province of meaning that is by no means to be placed above that of everyday life. This classification of science as one area of ​​meaning among many, of which only the everyday world does justice to the description as "paramount reality", represents a special achievement of Schütz's work. With regard to scientific theories, he strictly separates between their origins and their context of use and does not see their purpose in a specific interest in exploitation. “ The formation of scientific theory [...] serves no practical purpose. Their goal is not to rule the world, but to observe it and understand it if possible ”( Collected Essays I : p. 282). For a sociology that understands action, it is important to understand the processes of the constitution and interpretation of meaning by the actors in the lifeworld. In this way, the social sciences differ significantly from the natural sciences , the object area of ​​which does not claim any conscious self-definition and interpretation. “ The field of observation of the social scientist, that is, social reality , on the other hand, has a special meaning and relevance structure for the human beings who live, act and think in it. They have already selected and interpreted this world, in which they experience the reality of their daily life, in a sequence of constructions of the everyday mind ”( Collected Essays I: p. 68). The social scientist cannot ignore the fact that people develop a self-understanding of their subjectively meaningful actions; rather, he must build on these interpretations and constructions. " Therefore the constructions of the social sciences are, so to speak, second-degree constructions, that is, constructions of constructions of those actors in the social field whose behavior the social scientist has to observe and explain [...] " ( Collected Essays I : p. 68).

Schütz thus emphasizes the constructive character of the social sciences, which is based on their specific way of understanding the world. He formulates requirements that science in its effort reality in model-like and ideal-typical way understanding trace must meet. The postulate of logical consistency requires that the typifications and ideal types constructed by the scientist are compatible with the principles of formal logic and that their formulation is as clear and precise as possible. The postulate of rationality is supposed to ensure the potential verification of scientific assumptions and the construction of a valid model of social reality. According to the postulate of subjective interpretation , the scientific ideal types must be traceable to the subjective meaning that they develop in the lifeworld. And finally, the terms that the scientist uses, following the postulate of adequacy, should also be understandable and reasonable for the everyday actor himself.

Significance of Schütz's work for the social sciences

Although Schütz's work is suitable for philosophically oriented work, the possibilities for empirical research approaches remained weak. That only changed with Harold Garfinkel's ethnomethodology , which uses Schütz's work as theoretical preparatory work.

There may be many reasons for the fact that it took some time for Schütz's phenomenological approach to be accepted in the social sciences. After all, for a long time he was forced to pursue his theoretical work only during the nights and holidays, outside of his job as a banker. When he had to emigrate at the age of almost forty, his first work, The meaningful structure of the social world, was hardly known in the USA. There, academic life was dominated on the one hand by the idea of ​​specifically empirical research, represented by Robert K. Merton and Paul Lazarsfeld ( Columbia University ), on the other hand, Talcott Parsons ( Harvard University ) structural functionalism had an enormous influence on American sociology. The positivistic-quantitative research style of the department of sociology at Columbia University differed greatly from the humanistic orientation of the New School , at which Schütz taught, and prevailed in the scientific climate of the 1950s, which gave preference to applied sociology. An approximation of the theoretical positions of Schütz and Parsons failed, as their correspondence documents. In addition, many of Schütz's articles, often published in philosophical journals, were difficult to access to the general public.

So it is hardly surprising that Schütz was barely noticed in academic circles during his lifetime. All the more important, however, was his influence on social scientists who studied with Schütz at the New School . Against the background of existentialist tradition, Maurice Natanson dealt with a philosophical foundation of role theory, while Richard Zaner dealt with the question of intersubjectivity and relevance. Schütz exerted a strong influence on the sociologist Helmut Wagner , who defined the direction and content of his research through his Schütz supporters. Two other Schütz students who have made it very well known are Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann . Especially in their joint work, The Social Construction of Reality , they carried on the thoughts of their teacher and contributed significantly to the dissemination of ideas he had inspired. They brought a social-constructivist, sociological knowledge theory to fruition that refers to Schütz, but goes significantly beyond him. Via Berger and Luckmann, theoretical assumptions going back to Schütz found their way into organizational theory , especially into the basic assumptions of neo-institutionalism .

Schütz's thoughts have undergone the greatest modification in their influence on Harold Garfinkel, who is considered the founder of ethnomethodology. In his early studies, Garfinkel used Schütz's theoretical insights with the intention of empirically testing Parson's assumptions about social order. He finally came to the view that Parsons was wrong with regard to a socially divided culture and the rationality of purpose as determining for successful interaction. Garfinkel turned to investigating the methods that everyday actors use to communicate their knowledge and beliefs. Rationality, meaning and successful understanding represent the performance of actors as the result of social action. Even if it cannot be said that Garfinkel follows Schütz's thoughts and work and continues them, the beginnings of ethnomethodology would be unthinkable without the theoretical and methodical preparatory work by Schütz.


Single issues
  1. The problem of social reality . With an introduction by Aron Gurwitsch . 1971, ISBN 90-247-5116-0 .
  2. Studies on Sociological Theory . Arvid Brodersen (ed.). 1972, ISBN 90-247-1498-2 .
  3. Studies in phenomenological philosophy . Ilse Schütz (ed.). 1971, ISBN 90-247-1169-X .
  • The problem of relevance . Edited and explained by Richard M. Zaner. With an introduction by Thomas Luckmann . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1982, ISBN 3-518-27971-8 .
  • On the theory of social action. An exchange of letters ("The theory of social action. The correspondence of Alfred Schutz and Talcott Parsons "). Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1977, ISBN 3-518-07802-X .
  • Theory of Life Forms. Early manuscripts from the Bergson period (stw; vol. 350). Edited and introduced by Ilya Srubar . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1981, ISBN 3-518-07950-6 .
Work edition
  • Richard Grathoff, Hans-Georg Soeffner and Ilja Srubar (eds.): Alfred Schütz-Werkausgabe . UVK-Verlag, Konstanz 2003 ff.


Alfred Schütz was the only child of his parents. His father (1873–99), who was also called Alfred Schütz, came from Vienna and died before his son was born. He had worked as a cashier at the major bank Wiener Bankverein . The mother, Johanna Hansi Schütz (born 1873–1955 Fiala) came from Bohemia . Her parents were the banker Leopold Fiala and his wife Gisella (née Frankl). Johanna Schütz married his brother, Otto Schütz (1874–1942), two years after the death of her husband. He worked as an authorized signatory at the Viennese private bank Ephrussi & Co.

In March 1926, Alfred Schütz married Ilse Heim (1902–1990) and had two children with her:

  • Eva Elisabeth (Evelyn) Schütz (later Schutz, * 1933), married Lang;
  • Georg T. Schütz (later Schutz, * 1938).

Ilse Heim studied art history at the University of Vienna , where she also met her future husband Alfred Schütz. After their marriage she was his secretary and after his death in 1959 editor of his works. She also worked artistically as a painter and embroiderer .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Dirk Kassler (Ed.): "Klassiker der Soziologie", Volume I, 5th edition, p. 338, Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-547494
  2. Sabine Sander: "Dialogic Responsibility", Verlag Wilhelm Fink, Paderborn 2017, p. 62, ISBN 978-3-8467-6220-2
  3. Michael D. Barber: “The Participating Citizen - A Biography of Alfred Schutz”, State University of New York Press, Albany 2004, pp. 19f., ISBN 0-7914-6141-6 .
  4. Dirk Kassler (Ed.): "Klassiker der Soziologie", Volume I, 5th edition, p. 313, Verlag CH Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-547494


Lexicon article '
  • Jochen Dreher: Alfred Schutz In: George Ritzer, Jeff Stepnisky (Ed.): The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Major Social Theorists, Vol. I Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford 2011, ISBN 978-1-4443-3078-6 , pp. 489-510.
  • Thomas S. Eberle: Schütz 'lifeworld analysis. Sociology or Protosociology? In: Angelica Bäumer, Michael Benedikt (Hrsg.): Scholar Republic - Lifeworld. Edmund Husserl and Alfred Schütz in the crisis of the phenomenological movement. Passagen, Vienna 1993, ISBN 3-900767-77-7 , pp. 293-320.
  • Martin Endress : Alfred Schütz. The meaningful structure of the social world. In: Dirk Kaesler , Ludgera Vogt (Hrsg.): Major works of sociology (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 396). 2nd, revised edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-520-39602-0 , pp. 371-377.
  • Martin Endress: Alfred Schütz. In: Dirk Kaesler (Ed.): From Auguste Comte to Alfred Schütz (Classics of Sociology; Volume 1). 5th edition. Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-54749-4 , pp. 338-357.
  • Hubert Knoblauch : Discourse, Communication and Sociology of Knowledge. In: Reiner Keller u. a. (Ed.): Handbook of Social Science Discourse Analysis. Volume 1: Theories and Methods. VS, Wiesbaden 2001, ISBN 3-8100-2851-7 , pp. 207-223.
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  • Michael Hanke: Alfred Schütz. Introduction. Passagen, Vienna 2002, ISBN 3-85165-434-X .
  • Peter J. Opitz (Ed.): Correspondence about "The new science of politics". (Alfred Schütz with Eric Voegelin & Leo Strauss & Aron Gurwitsch). Alber, Freiburg i. Br. 1993, ISBN 3-495-47757-8 (Alber series practical philosophy; 46.).
  • Wolfgang L. Schneider: Weber, Parsons , Mead , Schütz (Fundamentals of Sociological Theory; Volume 1). VS, Wiesbaden 2002, ISBN 978-3531-15829-7 .
  • Ilja Srubar: Cosmion. The genesis of Alfred Schütz's pragmatic lifeworld theory and its anthropological background. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1988, ISBN 3-518-57891-X .

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