Alfred Schutz and Economics as a Social Science
Author: Oakley A.
Source: Human Studies, Volume 23, Number 3, July 2000 , pp. 243-260(18)
Over the years, a number of interpreters with an interest in economics have given some attention the work of Alfred Schutz. As intimated in this literature, the orientation of his delimited thought on economics stemmed from contacts with the Austrian school during his Vienna years. Probably because of this connection, there exists among these interpreters an inclination uncritically to align Schutz with the Austrians' thought. What will be argued in this paper is that in adopting such an uncritical position, each of these readings fails adequately to situate Schutz's critique of economic analyses within the framework of his own social theory. It will become apparent that his treatment of economics turned out to be a mixture of defence and critique, and that his interpretation of the subject and the intellectual status he ascribed to it were considerably more ambivalent and ambiguous than has been noticed. In particular, Schutz expressed significant reservations about the highly circumscribed and artificial depictions of the world of human action that some economists espoused, especially within the confines of marginalist theory. When arraigned against the phenomenology of the life-world that he had developed, and against the "postulates" around which he had constructed his social theory, much of extant economics did not meet the requirements of a properly grounded social science.
Document Type: Regular paper
Publication date: 2000-07-01