Formation of a methodological approach to social identity in phenomenological sociology
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social identity, social self, social knowledge, institutionalization, phenomenological sociology, methodological approach

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Shevchenko, Z. (2019). Formation of a methodological approach to social identity in phenomenological sociology. Multiversum. Philosophical Almanac, (5-6), 50-65.


The article is devoted to the analysis of the formation of phenomenological sociology as a synthesis of classical phenomenology and elements of the methodology of symbolic interactionism – by examining the problem of finding an adequate methodological approach to the study of social identity. Mead adds to the understanding of social self an analysis of the internal dynamics of its formation. This makes it possible to track changes that previously seemed sudden and unwarranted. The person himself cherishes his social self, while others only push him in different directions. The task of symbolic interactionism is to explain how, from the multiplicity of social influences and the fulfillment of the multiple social roles, the individual forms his own social self as something, as a core, around which all these social interactions revolve. Symbolic interactionism is based on the evolutionist assumption that even the most complex meanings of our experience originate from the simplest meanings – but at a very distant moment in historical time. The juxtaposition of symbolic interactionism and classical phenomenology appears, respectively, as a juxtaposition of the emphasis on social and individual principles in defining identity. If symbolic interactionists attach great importance to social interaction in the formation of social identity, then classical phenomenologists clearly underestimate the importance of social interaction in the formation of social identity. The basic methodological dilemma of the individual and the social in determining the essence of social identity, both in symbolic interactionists and in classical phenomenologists, arises in the analysis of consciousness and within the philosophy of consciousness: and identity, and self, and social identity, and consciousness, and social identity, and social identity. In the transition to the concept of social identity as one of the basic phenomenological sociologists appeal to the Marxist understanding of the dialectics of social processes, but significantly rethink it in the manner of sociology of knowledge, when it is no longer material production, and the production of everyday knowledge becomes a basic, determining social. For Alfred Schütz and Thomas Luckman, social identity is not an abstract social unity, but a shared social relevance, which is formed on the basis of mutual recognition of counter-social strategies of specific people. The term "social identity" is hardly used, but it provides rich material for the rational reconstruction of social identity through action. The assumption is made that social identity in accordance with the logic of the phenomenological sociology of Schütz is fixed during the transition from one “We-connections” to other “We-connections” while maintaining the continuity of the life world. Berger and Thomas Luckman will call this situation the transition to institutionalization in the process of crystallization of social ties, as the main way of secondary socialization. The logic of the formation of the methodology of phenomenological sociology in the study of social identity leads to the need to analyze this identity by means of institutional analysis.
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