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Life-World, Intersubjectivity and Culture

Contemporary Dilemmas


Edited By Elżbieta Hałas

This volume commemorates Richard H. Grathoff’s (1934–2013) contribution to interpretative sociology. Reconsidering the legacy of social phenomenology, it demonstrates the usefulness of concepts such as life-world, milieu and symbolic transcendence in the studies of sociocultural transformations.
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Hubert Knoblauch: Communicative Constructivism and the Communication Society


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Hubert Knoblauch

Communicative Constructivism and the Communication Society


In this paper I am presenting a theoretical approach which is based on social constructivism as conceived of by Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann in their “Social Construction of Reality” (1966). Social constructivism has been subject to some criticism in previous years. Although much of this criticism addresses a popularized notion of social constructivism which omits the theory of Berger and Luckmann (Hacking 1999), some arguments hint at real shortcomings of this theory, particularly with respect to the transformation of society since the publication of the book. Like their teacher Alfred Schutz, Berger and Luckmann start, for example, from the assumption that “immediate interaction” in the “face-to-face-situation” constitutes a clear anthropological reference point for all social interaction. However, as recent technological developments clearly demonstrate, interactions can crisscross between immediate and mediated interaction. It is quite obvious then that basic categories of the theory of social constructivism are affected by societal changes which require an adaptation of the theory.

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