Volume 12, 2020
The Reification of the Other as a Social Pathology
Traces of a Phenomenological Critical Theory in Alfred Schutz
The present paper constitutes an attempt to articulate, systematize, and further develop the implicit traces of a phenomenological critical theory that, according to Michael Barber’s reading, are to be found in Schutz’s thought. It is my contention that a good way to achieve this aim is by reading Schutz against the background of novel, phenomenologically and hermeneutically informed accounts of Critical Theory in the tradition of the Frankfurt School, such as Hartmut Rosa’s. In order to achieve the stated objective, I will proceed in four steps. First (1), I will briefly reconstruct the mostly negative reception of phenomenology, the interpretive social sciences, and Schutz by both the Frankfurt School and contemporary critical social theory. Second (2), I will present Barber’s alternative reading of Schutzian phenomenology as entailing an implicit ethics and a rudimentary critical theory based thereon. Third (3), I will sketch out Rosa’s formal model of Critical Theory as an heuristic means for articulating Schutz’s unspoken social-critical insights. Finally (4), establishing a dialogue between Barber’s reading of Schutz and Rosa’s account, I will provide a preliminary articulation of Schutz’s rudimentary critical theory.