life-world

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life-world

( Lebenswelt ) the natural attitude’ involved in everyday conceptions of reality, which includes ‘not only the “nature” experienced…, but also the social world’ (Schutz and Luckmann, The Structures of the Life-World, 1973).

Whereas HUSSERL'S PHENOMENOLOGY bracketed the ‘life-world’, for SCHUTZ it was the major task of SOCIAL PHENOMENOLOGY to uncover the basis of this ‘natural habitat’ of social life (of actors’ social competence), with its central problem of human ‘understanding’. For Schutz it is the ‘taken-for-granted’, ‘routine’ character of the life-world which is most striking (e.g. in contrast with SCIENCE). The ‘stocks of knowledge’ (‘what everybody knows’ – see also MUTUAL KNOWLEDGE) and the ‘interpretive schemes’ employed by social actors in bringing off everyday action, as made apparent by Schutz, become the subject matter of ETHNOMETHODOLOGY. Schutz's thinking has also influenced GIDDENS’ formulation of STRUCTURATION THEORY. see also PRACTICAL CONSCIOUSNESS.