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The Foundation of an Interpretative Sociology: A Critical Review of the Attempts of George H. Mead and Alfred Schutz

Christian Etzrodt
Human Studies
Vol. 31, No. 2 (Jun., 2008), pp. 157-177
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40270648
Page Count: 21
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The Foundation of an Interpretative Sociology: A Critical Review of the Attempts of George H. Mead and Alfred Schutz
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Abstract

George H. Mead and Alfred Schutz proposed foundations for an interpretative sociology from opposite standpoints. Mead accepted the objective meaning structure a priori. His problem became therefore the explanation of the individuality and creativity of human actors in his social behavioristic approach. In contrast, Schutz started from the subjective consciousness of an isolated actor as a result of a phenomenological reduction. He was concerned with the problem of explaining the possibility of this isolated actor's perceiving other actors in their existence, their concreteness, and the motives for their behavior. I treat these two approaches and their associated problems as equally relevant. My evaluation is based on their success in solving their specific problems. The aim is to decide which of the two approaches provides the more adequate foundation for an interpretative sociology.

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