The Things of the World: A Social Phenomenology Review

The Things of the World: A Social Phenomenology
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In a social science world where humans are not really that important, the work of Jim Aho is seen as a refreshing reminder of why many of us became social scientists. In this book, the latest in a long line of Aho classics, he explores the construction of things of our world. Your view of life and of the social sciences will never be the same again. I would read Aho's other books most notably the Politics of Righteousness and This Thing of Darkness as companions to this text. In this triology, you get to see the work of one of the most important social theorists of the past 20 years.

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What does it mean to be a social being in the ordinary life-world? This clear and compelling introduction to social phenomenology examines the experiential features of the basic things comprising our life-world, namely me, you, abstract others (enemies, communities, and associations), and attributes of the lived-body (emotions, pain, and pleasure). Each of these entities is phenomenologically described, with the aim of reducing reports of personal experiences and other primary documents to the presumed prototypical experience of the thing in questionâ€"its ideal essence. Another aim of this study is to sociologically account for how the various entities of the life-world have been accomplished, that is, how the prototypical experiences of the things in question have come to be. By showing the life-world to be our joint project rather than a fixed, unalterable coherency, this volume destabilizes our naive attitude towards the things of the world.

Examples are drawn from the author's own research on issues such as violence, religion, health, and race; from classic and contemporary anthropological research; and from the works of some of the most innovative philosophers of the twentieth century. This study actually does phenomenology instead of merely arguing for its necessity and will appeal to both social scientists and philosophers.

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