ESSAYS IN COMMEMORATION OF ALFRED SCHUTZ / Vol. 37, No. 1 (Spring 1970)
Lectures have their history. At this moment in the career of Western Man, history itself is threatened and reflection upon it cast a defensive and apologetic role. Primordial reflection, the task of philosophy, has become suspect, and abstraction a form of abuse. Unreason and anti reason rise like gas from the marshes of the universities; who, then, speaks for rationality and assumes that considerable burden of sustaining and transmitting the impulse of what was once known as perennial philosophy?
Like the gnostics in the Hellenistic Empire or the romantics of the last century, modern man complains about alienation as the experience of meaningless, loss of reality, and limitations of freedom. Industrial society is an abstract society of pluralistics nature. Hardly any unity and totality can be experienced, since professional specialization, running parallel to institutional compartmentalization, has cut social life into separate pieces of reality making for separate life-spheres. Each specialized profession and each institutional sector has reached an autonomy which makes meaningful communication among them almost impossible and thus virtually prohibits the construction of a coherent identity by the individual.
While the problems of dealing with social change arise from the complexities of society itself, it may well be that these problems are compounded by a mechanistic view of the social order which depends to the large extent upon the simple causal link and the concept of equilibrium. The effort of this paper will be to examine an alternative to this view, namely the multi-layered perspective of the overall process of social change.
The article considers the problems raised by the study of the social phenomena of communication. Within the sociolinguistic perspective, he discusses the relation of language and cognition to the manifold social and linguistic dimensions in communicative events, i.e., social events, in specific contexts. The essay deals with: the patterns of social perception within processes of verbal communication; semantic analysis as analysis of the semantic fields as expressed in concrete social situations; the variables of linguistic structure and the social psychological processes of cognition and how they relate to each other; a linguistic sign system as used within sociologically specific relevance structures; and the process of thematization of meaning. The author contends that the emerging field of research in the sociology of language offers a task of interdisciplinary discussion and will require revision of theories of social action.
“Reality” is not always constructed according to the same rules and processes. People construct their sense of everyday reality in differing ways, and there are many specific enclaves of reality wherein certain formalized rules prevail over common sense rules. In most of our experiences, acts are routinely interpreted within the reality in which they arise, and no threat of differing interpretations disturbs the participants.
We have the impression that, at bottom, what particularly shocks Raymond Aron, as well as all those who really wish to remedy society’s ills, is the success of these vague, half-baked ideas, in short, the fragility of good sense or the fascination that barbarism exerts on intellectuals of the most different--and at times of the most refined--species. To him the carnival of fraternity is just as much a spectacle of ideological debauchery , a fair of spiritual mendacities, and a morbid return of the state of nature: The “introuvable” Revolution.
Examination of the syllabus of the Faculty of Philosophy of Charles University in Prague for the postwar years shows that the last mention of sociology dates from the academic year 1949-1950. It is true that social sciences and philosophy are mentioned, but there is no further mention of sociology itself. We find here dialectical and historical materialism and political economy, but actual sociological disciplines are missing.
Japan is one of the few countries whose development since World War II has aroused interest and admiration bordering on astonishment. In less than the quarter century since the unexampled catastrophe it suffered in the war, Japan has re-emerged among the world’s top economic powers. One of the most important elements of contemporary life is the network of mass communications media.