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Schutz, Alfred 1899-1959

SCHUTZ, Alfred 1899-1959

PERSONAL: Born April 13, 1899 in Vienna, Austria; immigrated to United States, 1938; died May 20, 1959, in New York, NY; son of Alfred and Johann (Fialla) Schütz; married Ilse Heim, 1926; children: two. Education: University of Vienna, LL.D. (international law). Hobbies and other interests: Phenomenology.

CAREER: Reitler and Company (banking firm), employee, 1929-59. New School for Social Research, New York, NY, part-time instructor. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, publisher. Military service: Served in Austrian army during World War I.


Sinnhafte Aufbau der sozialen Welt, J. Springer (Vienna, Austria), 1932, translation by George Walsh and Frederick Lehnert published as The Phenomenology of the Social World, Northwestern University Press (Evanston, IL), 1967.

On Phenomenology and Social Relations: Selected Writings, edited by Helmut R. Wagner, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1970.

Reflections on the Problem of Relevance, edited by Richard M. Zaner, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1970.

(With Thomas Luckmann) Struckturen der Lebenswelt, H. Luchterhand (Neuwied, Germany), 1975, translation by Richard M. Zaner and H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., published as The Structures of the Life-World, Northwestern University Press (Evanston, IL), 1973-1989.

Zur Theorie sozialen Handelns: E. Briefwechsel, Suhrkamp (Frankfurt am Main, Germany), 1977, translation published as The Theory of Social Action: The Correspondence of Alfred Schutz and Talcott Parsons, edited by Richard Grathoff, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1978.

Lebensformen und Sinnstruktur, translation by Helmut R. Wagner published as Life Forms and Meaning Structure, Routledge & Kegan Paul (Boston, MA), 1982.

Collected Papers, four volumes, edited and introduced by Maurice Natanson, M. Nijhoff (Boston, MA), 1982-1996.

Alfred Schütz, Aron Gurwitsch: Briefwechsel, 1939-1959, W. Fink (Munich, Germany), 1985, translation by J. Claude Evans published as Philosophers in Exile: The Correspondence of Alfred Schutz and Aron Gurwitsch, 1939-1959, edited by Richard Grathoff, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IL), 1989.

Copies of Schutz's papers are found in the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology at the Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida.

SIDELIGHTS: Viennese-American lawyer Alfred Schutz is considered one of the founders of phenomenology, that is, the study of structures of consciousness that enable a person to refer to objects outside of himself. The discipline was first named phenomenology in a publication by German philosopher Edmund Husserl in 1913. Later, other philosophers, including Schutz, following Husserl's lead, made variations in the discipline to reflect their own thinking on the subject.

Though influential, Schutz was not like other professional philosophers who occupied university teaching positions for a livelihood. While a student he was interested in literature, art, and music, but after serving in the Austrian army during World War I Schutz studied law and economics at the University of Vienna. He found a position as executive secretary of the Austrian Banker's Association and several years later joined the bank Reitler and Company. At the outset of World War II, when Germany invaded Austria, Schutz and his wife and two children escaped to Paris. Later they immigrated to New York City, where Schutz was able to retain his job with the same company, a post he held until his death.

During his after-work hours, Schutz delved into literature on the numerous theories being developed about human interactions. He read works by German sociologist Max Weber, French philosopher Henri-Louis Bergson, and German phenomenologist Edmund Husserl. Schutz began forming his own theories, synthesizing ideas and applying them to American society. In 1940 he created Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, a scholarly journal, and published a handful of works. For a time he lectured at the graduate school at the New School for Social Research in New York City.



Koev, Kolyo, editor, Phenomenology as a Dialogue: Dedicated to the Ninetieth Anniversary of Alfred Schutz, Critique and Humanism (Sofia, Bulgaria), 1990.

Natanson, Maurice, editor, Phenomenology and Social Reality: Essays in Memory of Alfred Schutz, Nijhoff (The Hague, Netherlands), 1970.

Wolff, Kurt H., editor, Alfred Schutz: Appraisals and Developments, Nijhoff (Boston, MA), 1984.

World of Sociology, Volume 2, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.


American Journal of Economics and Sociology, January, 1996, Nicolai Juul Foss, "Spontaneous Social Order: Economics and Schutzian Sociology," pp. 73-86.

Ethics, July, 1984, James Johnson, review of Life Forms and Meaning Structures, p. 729.

International Philosophical Quarterly, March, 1994, Meredith Williams, "Private States and Public Practices: Wittgenstein and Schutz and Intentionality," pp. 89-101.

Philosophy of the Social Sciences, December, 1994, Timothy M. Costelloe, "Schutz, Music, and Temporality: A Wittgensteinian Assessment," pp. 439-447.

Sociology, November, 2000, Austin Harrington, "Alfred Schutz and the 'Objectifying Attitude,'" p. 727.*

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