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Phenomenology and Social Constructionism: Constructs for Political Identity

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This essay explores the roots of social constructionism in the work of Alfred Schutz, the teacher of Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann and, beyond Schutz, Edmund Husserl. It is described how pregiven things are logically formed and then ideal types or constructs with content are also constituted about them. Schutz begins in the egological perspective but goes beyond that to the intersubjective perspective to show how the world of everyday life has constructs received from predecessors as well as contemporaries and shared by in-groups. Common-sense constructs are constituted like cultural-scientific ones. Motivation in everyday life and the role of the ordinary vernacular in their transmission is shown. An analysis then focuses on how constructs have recently been received and/or reinforced by political election polling in the latest USA presidential election. These constructs involve results in percentages that can be understood qualitatively for Democrats and Republicans divided into gender groups, generations, races, regions, and by education, income or social class, religion. This account can be considered reflective, descriptive, and culture-appreciative and thus phenomenological. Similar constructing no doubt occurs in other industrialized countries and affects so-called common sense. Deeper understanding than this analysis reaches is called for at the end of this essay.

Affiliations: 1: Florida Atlantic University


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