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Schutzian Research

Volume 9, 2017

Carlos Belevedere
Pages 79-84
DOI: 10.5840/schutz201797

Lester Embree on ‘Collective Subjects’

Embree claimed that Schutz did not remain a methodological individualist during all of his academic life since he came to consider the individual as an abstractum abstracted from a concrete collective life. In this view, the socio-historical world cannot be understood as a mere structure of individuals because it also contains groups that are related one to another in diverse ways and which are the concrete subject of the social world. I stress three major contributions of Embree to social phenomenology: to have shown the deficiencies of methodological individualism because it conceals that the social world is a world of groups; to have found a phenomenological way to speak of collective subjects not involving metaphysical mystifications; and to have found a different way to access phenomena by re-specifying the first person perspective as “first person plural.”

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