A Study of Habit and Experience
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The author develops a phenomenological theory of the social structure of immediate experience. At the heart of this study is a theory of habitual sensitivity that originates in the writings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and John Dewey. The author develops this theory as an alternative to Schutz's theory of taken-for-granted knowledge, which has had a pervasive influence on how phenomenology has been understood and applied within sociology. Each chapter expands on Ostrow's claim that the world is inherently social, by virtue of the sensitivity that immerses us within it before it ever becomes an object of reflection.
James M. Ostrow is Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences, Bentley College.
"The originality of this work springs from Ostrow's solid grasp and critical extension of the ideas of key figures in the phenomenological and sociological traditions. As a result, the proposed theory of habitual sensitivity is creative, novel, and well-grounded. This work makes an important contribution to the growing interest in interpretive approaches to social science inquiry"— David Rehorick, Department of Sociology, University of New Brunswick
"Ostrow provides a strong, appealing theoretical foundation for researching the qualitative immediacy of social life. Attacking both cognitivism and subjectivism, the author helps to make phenomenology attractive to social science researchers. "— David M. Levin, Department of Philosophy, Northwestern University
"This is a very sensitive work, well attuned to the nuances of scholarship and capable of handling texts with understanding and balanced interpretation. I find myself very much in sympathy with the conclusions of this study. " — Garth Gillan, Department of Philosophy, Southern Illinois University