Week 5 02/02/2014
Wallace and Wolf, 261 – 267; 284 – 292.
Phenomenon – appearance
Phenomenology – method in philosophy that begins w/individual & own conscious
experience & tries to avoid prior assumptions, prejudices, & philosophical dogmas.
o Examined phenomena as they are apprehended in their immediacy by social actor.
o Question what we have learned & our way of looking at and being
in the world.
Assume the role of a stranger.
How ppl define their social situations once they take that role.
Husserl & Shutz & Giddens
Phenomenology – interest in those things that can be directly apprehended by one’s senses.
• Denies that we can ever know more about things than what we
experience directly through our senses.
o Everything else is speculation.
• How we come to have similar perceptions of others; how we put together a phenomena to have
a shared constructed world.
Written in the social unrest time – Civil Rights, antiwar, Women’s movements.
Incorporated Weber’s verstehen – subjective understanding.
• Shutz – emphasis on individual’s own definition of the situation.
o Includes assumption drawn on common stock of knowledge.
Conceptions of appropriate behaviour that enable them to think of the world as
made up of ‘types’ of things.
i.e. books, houses, cars, etc.
Similar to Mead – generalized other. • Constructing world by using typification passed on to them by
Example: mailing letter.
Taken for granted people involved – postal carriers, sorters, etc.
People mailing letters view themselves as cooperating with postal
Giddens – mutual knowledge incorporated in encounters.
• Outside discursive consciousness – people are not normally selfconscious about
People are only conscious about knowledge they can use. Large chunk if mutual
knowledge used automatically.
Example: PD & Judge discussion about sentencing indiv. Committing theft.
Implies that both parties know about legal syst.
• Using formulae/typified schemes in social life in order to geth through routine, recurrent
o Ppl know gen. rules for certain social activities.
• Routinization is crucial – sustains sense of ontological security – stable mental state.
o Sense that their world is real. Important for continuity of our personalities.
Example: Bettelheim experience Nazi concent. Camp.
Prisoners personality reconstructed to identify w/oppressors the guards. No privacy given.
Reciprocity of perspectives – meaning one imparts to the interaction may be shared with the
other person interacting with.
• Example: orchestra. Shared meaning w/conductor.
o Can exchange positions & experience situation as conductor
Berger & Luckmann
How knowledge come to be socially accepted as reality.
• People continuously create through actions & interactions a shared
reality. Experienced as objectively factual & subjectively meaningful. o Subjective – reality is personally meaningful
o Objective – social order, as human product.
Alienation – loss of meaning. Disintegration of knowledge.
• Developing world facing alienation with modernization.
*How everyday reality is socially constructed*
• How subjective meaning becomes objective factities.
Facetoface interaction = meat of life. Like bff Goffman.
• All other types of interaction derive from face to face interaction.
• Goffman: actors reading scripts.
• Berger & Luckmann: actors improve & create own script.
• Externalization – individuals create society. It is “there”.
o Individuals by their own activity create social worlds.
View social order as ongoing human production.
Result of past human activity. Exists only insofar as human