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141. Schutzian Research: Volume > 15
Wanting Zhang Structures of the Digitalized Life-World: An Exploration of Alfred Schutz’s Life-World Theory in the Age of Digitalization
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In this article, I argue that current information and communication technology with the outcome of deep digitalization has been so profoundly integrated into everyday life that Schutz’s primary, universalistic description of the life-world which underplays the role of technology necessarily leaves a huge range of everyday experiences insufficiently discussed. Taking Schutz’s phenomenological observation as a starting point, I intend to examine the spatial, temporal, and social structures of the digitalized life-world and its meaning for the praxis of social sciences. Standing by the world openness as human nature and technology as the very source of the dynamics of human-world-relation, I argue Schutz’s universalistic intended life-world analysis needs to be historicized ceaselessly to stay attuned to the most everyday reality.
142. Schutzian Research: Volume > 15
Michael Barber Orcid-ID Introduction
143. Schutzian Research: Volume > 15
Giulia Salzano Phenomenological Sociology on Stage: Reading Theatre through Alfred Schütz’s Categories
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This article proposes an interpretation of the theatrical experience mobilising Alfred Schütz’s theoretical framework and conceptual tools. The text presents the accounts of some theatre operators (actors, directors, students in training, both amateurs and professionals) from whose words it is possible to seize, without forcing or over-interpretate them, the expendability, the relevance and the topicality of the Schützian thought and lexicon. Such an approach allows not only to question and investigate the phenomenological status of the artistic world but also to sketch a “dramatization” of the phenomenology of the social world proposed by the Viennese intellectual. In this perspective the text focuses on the processes of typification, sedimentation and reorganization of the stock of knowledge, on the structuring of the socio-spatio-temporal sphere and on the negotiation between expressed and interpreted meaning, in order to analyse how they work in the theatrical experience.
144. Schutzian Research: Volume > 15
Raul F. Prezas, Paul R. Shockley Orcid-ID A Stranger in One’s Own Community: Iterations of Ritual Desecration and Reverse Ritual Purification
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In the Schutzian tradition, Berger and Luckmann expand upon the concept of the stranger and discuss the social reality of ritual purification as a coping strategy for reality-maintaining procedures and mental hygiene whereby individuals reconcile their encounter with a foreigner or stranger and their official reality. Using examples from the trans, gender non-conforming community (TGNC), the central question of this paper is: What about those considered a stranger in their home community? Given the hardships that TGNC people have encountered and continue to face, “unsuccessful socialization” does not offer the best account of their challenges, obstacles, and sufferings when marginalized by others. Advancing Schutzian research, we offer two terms that can be applied to the idea of the stranger: ritual desecration and reverse ritual purification. Using a dialectical framework, a social and interpersonal conflict occurs between ritual purification and ritual desecration. Consequently, two personal iterations emerge: those who experience ritual desecration by remaining in their home environment and those who migrate to another community for the possibility of acceptance and belonging, hence, reverse ritual purification. The iterations between ritual purification, ritual desecration, and reverse ritual purification lead to incremental changes and hardships, potentially creating a new social reality.
145. Schutzian Research: Volume > 15
Alejandro Laregina Intersubjectivity and Professional Care: Elements for a Possible Phenomenology of Aquatic Rescue
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This article provides a phenomenological description of aquatic rescue within the framework of interdisciplinary and reflective social phenom­enology in the Schutzian tradition. Aquatic rescue is a professional discipline involving the care of others, such as bathers, in various environments: beaches, swimming pools, rivers, lakes, lagoons and other water bodies. Care implies not only intervention before the emergency and the need for corresponding assis­tance, but the anticipation and prevention of possible and/or imminent danger as well. One of the central objectives of this work is to clarify how the social relationship of care works from a Schutzian perspective, that is, the relationship involving the embodied intersubjectivity of a shared environment, as well as what is communicated and expressed between lifesavers and between lifesavers and bathers. This characterization requires paying attention to the internal perspective of the participants involved: bathers or victims and lifeguards, the extent of their knowledge and what they have experienced in time and space, along with their skills, subjective meanings involved, and the “because motives” and “in order to motives” of their actions in the context of their projects.
146. Schutzian Research: Volume > 13
Michael D. Barber Orcid-ID Introduction to Schutzian Research 13
147. Schutzian Research: Volume > 13
George D. Yancy The Danger of White Innocence: Being a Stranger in One’s Own “Home”
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This paper explores how whiteness as the transcendental norm shapes the meaning structure of Black-being-in-the-world. If home is a place, a site, a dwelling of acceptance, where one is allowed to feel safe, to relax, to let one’s guard down, then being Black in white supremacist America is anathema to being at home for Black people. Indeed, to be Black is to be a stranger, something “strange,” “scary,” “dangerous,” an “outsider.” To be Black within white America belies what it means to dwell, to reside, to rest. In other words, one’s sense of racialized Black embodiment remains on guard, unsettled, hyperalert. Phenomenologically, there is a profound sense of alienation, where one’s racialized body is ostracized and shunned. On this score, I examine, within the mundane context of an elevator, how the dynamics of intersubjectivity and sociality are strained (or even placed under erasure) through the dynamics of the white gaze. The white gaze, among other things, functions to police the meaning of the Black body and attempts to de-subjectify Black embodiment. In this way, the only real perspective is white. Black bodies are deemed devoid of a perspective on the world as there is no subjectivity, no sense of agential meaning making. One might say that Black people, on this view, constitute an essence, a typified mode of being. Unlike the existentialist thesis where existence precedes essence, Black people are locked into an objecthood, a fungible and fixed essence. This racial and racist myth is what, for Schutz, would collapse the importance that he places on intersubjectivity and sociality. Indeed, within this paper, I delineate the threatening, necro-political dimensions of whiteness that I experienced after writing the well-known article “Dear White America.” That experience cemented, for me, and for many other readers, what it means to occupy the residence of whiteness, an abode that can take one’s life in the blink of an eye. The experience of the racialized stranger means walking a tightrope, a precarious situation where one flirts with death, where one’s body is deemed hypersexual, inferior, frightening, and monstrous. Based upon this construction, the white body is deemed the site of virtue, safety, deliverer, protector of all things white and pure. Think here of “the white man’s burden” or the idea of “white manifest destiny.” Stain, blemish, taint, and defilement are indelible markers of the stranger. And based upon the logics of racial purity, one must extinguish the “vermin,” the “criminals,” the “rapists.” While I don’t explore this within the paper, Schutz scholars will immediately recognize the genocidal implications of what would have been at stake for Schutz had he not escaped Adolf Hitler’s anti-Semitic gaze and his Anschluss of Austria. My sense is that Schutz would have understood not just the horrors of white racism but would appreciate the necessity of theorizing the need to rethink home as existentially capacious and intersubjectively vibrant. I conclude this paper by thinking through the concept of “breakdown”, delineating its spatial, phenomenological, and subjectively embodied implications. Breakdown, as I use the term, upends forms of white racialized habituation, creating possible embodied psychic space for what I term un-suturing, which involves undoing the machinations of white safety in the face of alterity, where the stranger invokes wonder and self-critique.
148. Schutzian Research: Volume > 13
Hermilio Santos, Priscila Susin Relevance and Biographical Experience in Urban Social Research
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This paper analyses how the epistemological foundation proposed by Alfred Schutz, especially his notion of system of relevance, can adequately inform interpretive social research that adopts biographical narrative interviews and the method of biographical case reconstruction. We exemplify this adequacy between Schutz’s theory and the interpretive biographical approach by exploring a research project conducted in favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We claim that social research on urban development and social inequalities can greatly benefit from this type of phenomenologically based perspective because it offers a longitudinal and in-depth understanding of individuals’ life courses and experiences in urban everyday life and how they unfold always intertwined with a wide range of different historical and cultural experiences, contexts, and meanings.
149. Schutzian Research: Volume > 13
Thomas S. Eberle A Study in Xenological Phenomenology: Alfred Schutz’s Stranger Revisited
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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 (Jewish) immigrants at that time suffered from. An outlook on future Schutzian research concludes the paper.
150. Schutzian Research: Volume > 13
Erik Garrett Strangeness of the Strange: Strangeness and Proximity in Schutz, Husserl, and Levinas
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This article reexamines Alfred Schutz’s famous 1944 Stranger essay and the initial criticism of Aron Gurwitsch. I side with Schutz in thinking of the refugee as a special type of stranger. Then to respond to the charge that the essay is not philosophical enough from Gurwitsch, I read Schutz’s notion of the strange with Husserl’s notion of homeworld and Levinas’s notion of fecundity. This allows us to see the philosophical depth of doing a phenomenology of the stranger and strangeness.