Phenomenology: The World of Everyday Life or Life World and Typification

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  • A philosophy and research method
  • Studies experienced events and objects using the senses
  • Relevance to the sociology of everyday life
  • Stresses that social reality is a product of human activity.
  • We create a meaningful social world around us.
  • We must not downplay the role of individual subjectivities.
  • “Phenomenology would seek not to explain the world, but to describe the way things first arise in our direct, sensorial experience.”
  • Edmund Husserl՚s work
  • 1960s by Alfred Schutz – Sociological Phenomenology
  • Work - Phenomenology of Social World
  • All human reflection is grounded in the mundane world of lived experience or Lebenswelt.
  • Subjective meanings that give rise to an objective social world.
  • First person point of view of experiences
  • We think consciously so we must experience consciously
  • No pre-conceptions or cause and effect ideas
  • Sociology should look at the way individual constructs the social world.
  • Emphasis on the importance of examining the world
  • “The way in which people grasp the consciousness of others while they live within their own stream of consciousness.”

The World of Everyday Life or Life World

  • Individuals create social reality
  • individuals are constrained by already existing structures created by their predecessors
  • These structures can be social or cultural
  • There is a dialectical relationship between the way people construct social reality and the stubborn external social and cultural realities that they inherit


  • The way the phenomena in which is being experienced is classified according to the previous experience
  • It helps in understanding reality and makes it predictable

Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman

  • The Social Construction of Reality, 1967
  • How social meanings of phenomena keep changing with time and individual՚s subjectivity and experiences
  • There is no reality beyond the Individual subjectivity


  • Study - Social construction of marital reality
  • By Peter Berger and Hans fried Kellner

According to their analysis:

Application: According to Their Analysis
  • Two individuals from different lifeworld՚s come into proximity
  • Lifeworld of each is brought into communication with the other.
  • Out of these two different realities emerges one marital reality
  • It gives birth to primary social context
  • In this context, individual engages in social interactions and functions in society.
  • A new social reality is formed
  • Over a period, new social worlds are formed within which each spouse functions.


Habermas questions the relevance of phenomenology for social thought in general. He said it is solipsistic - of being able to conceive of the existence of only one single subject.


Q. 1. Match List – I with List – II:

Match List – I with List – II
List – IList – II
(a) Social Construction of Reality(1) Harold Garfinkel
(b) Phenomenology of Social World(2) Irwin Goffman
(c) Presentation of Self in Every Day Life(3) Berger and Luckman
(d) Studies in Ethnomethodology(4) Alfred Schutz

(A) (1) (2) (3) (4)

(B) (2) (3) (4) (1)

(C) (3) (4) (2) (1)

(D) (4) (2) (1) (3)

Answer: (C)

Q. 2. In which work it is argued that all knowledge is socially constructed and oriented towards particular practical problems?

(1) Phenomenology of Mind

(2) Studies in Ethnomethodology

(3) The phenomenology of the Social World

(4) The Social Construction of Reality

Answer: (4)




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