Volume 7, 2015
The Merits of a Schutzian Perspective
The purpose of this paper is to show that the work of Alfred Schutz, mostly neglected by the current representatives of the social scientific movement of methodological individualism, can provide a foundation for an alternative methodological individualist programme, which instead of building on the presumed rationality of action, starts from the subjective consciousness of the actor, thus can overcome the objectivist bias characterizing most other variants. Following the Schutzian guidelines, this individualist approach can avoid the error of introducing elements incompatible with the individual level of explanation, and also can avoid the conflict between the principle of the freedom of choice, assumed by the action theoretical point of departure, and the implicit determinism of the theories grounded on the idea of rational action. Adopting the results on the fields of the definition of the situation and intersubjective understanding, provided by the phenomenologically grounded interpretive theory of Schutz, methodological individualist theory can also overcome some of its serious defi ciencies.