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Life-World, Intersubjectivity and Culture

Contemporary Dilemmas

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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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Ulf Matthiesen: A Phenomenologist Goes to Town! “Spatial Turn,” “Urban Terroir” and the Life-World/Milieu-Paradigm: Strengthening Recent Phenomenological Approaches in City Research

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Ulf Matthiesen

A Phenomenologist Goes to Town!“Spatial Turn,” “Urban Terroir” and the Life-World/Milieu-Paradigm: Strengthening Recent Phenomenological Approaches in City Research

Cities are one of the most important life-world-domains in our rapidly urbanizing world. A more enthusiastic and essentialist discourse type would even address them as “the greatest invention of mankind” (Daniel Libeskind, American-Jewish Architect). In five steps I will try to show how the phenomenological “Life-World/Milieu-Paradigm” (and some of its social, structural and communicative variants) gets growing relevance in studying and structuring city life-worlds. This has at least two closely related aspects:

– on the one hand, the Life-World/Milieu-Paradigm can help to improve adequate and relevant urbanist research and reconstruction strategies, especially addressing “the city as a whole” (Robert E. Park) and its intricate “urban” constellations;

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