Schutzian Research

Volume 14, 2022

Alexis Gros
Pages 27-50

Methodological Individualism in Alfred Schutz’s Work
Scope and Limits

In this paper, I intend to clarify Alfred Schutz’s complex relationship to methodological individualism (MI), showing that he defends a “hermeneutic,” “weak” and “partial” variant of this approach. I will do so by focusing mainly on his reception of Max Weber, given the latter’s centrality in the MI paradigm.. In order to achieve my objective, I will proceed in three steps. First (1), to avoid misunderstandings, I will provide an updated definition of MI, distinguishing it from ontological and normative individualism and giving an overview of its different variants. Second (2), I will systematically reconstruct Schutz’s convergences with Weber’s “hermeneutic” MI. Finally (3), I will develop the thesis of the “partiality” and “weakness” of Schutz’s MI with the help of recent literature on his work.