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Schutzian Research

Volume 1, 2009

Pablo Hermida-Lazcano
Pages 227-243
DOI: 10.7761/sr.1.227

Relevancias y planes de vida en el mundo sociocultural

After justifying its centrality in the Schützian project of founding interpretive sociology, I present the theory of relevance as the cornerstone of Schütz’s constitutive phenomenology of the natural attitude, conceived of as the investigation of the meaningful construction and the structures of the lifeworld. Through what I call the life-plans approach, I contend that the essence of every sociocultural world has to be found in a thick network of intersubjective and hierarchized relevance structures upon which personal life-projects are built. This proposal is based on Schütz’s subordination of the theory of action to the theory of relevance, which challenges every atomistic view of social action. The interplay of relevance structures in the field of consciousness and especially the focus on imposed relevances encourage us to reflect on the scope of human freedom. Lastly, I examine the everlasting tension in Schütz’s thought between the anti-rationalistic potential of the theory of relevance and the methodological rationalism inherited from Weber and the Austrian marginalists.