ABSTRACT

This chapter concludes the book. Instead of a summary, the conclusion highlights the general contributions of Schutzian theory to social and cultural analysis in the historical social sciences. Schutz’s original contribution reflects two central aspects: his detailed phenomenological analysis of the lifeworld, and the underlying social theory which this analysis drew upon and articulated. Schutz’s social theory is not a novel theory of modern society, but a set of general categories that provide a preliminary analytic framework for social analysis and outline the basic lifeworld structures of modernity. Finally, Schutz’s theory of modernity is most prominent in his outlines for a sociology and political economy of knowledge. The conclusion ends with a call for what it calls a “neoclassical interpretivism.” Neoclassical interpretivism is proposed as a means of recovering and building upon the critical insights generated by an early generation of phenomenological philosophers and social scientists who held a shared belief in the critical-interpretive mission of social science and its indispensable mission as an intellectual and cultural project of modernity.