The Review of Austrian Economics

, Volume 14, Issue 2–3, pp 219–231 | Cite as

From Schütz to Goffman: The Search for Social Order

  • Jonathon E. Mote


The revival of the ideas of Alfred Schütz among Austrian economists is examined. In particular, this paper looks at Schütz's work on intersubjectivity as an alternative approach to market coordination. As opposed to the rational maximization of individuals, some have argued that Schütz's concept of intersubjective structures of meaning offers a better model for understanding how individuals act in the social world. This paper questions the soundness of utilizing Schütz's approach and suggests that the work of the sociologist Erving Goffman offers a potential model of social interaction that encompasses many elements of Schütz's framework but does not share the same limitations. Drawing on selected works of Goffman, a tentative model of social interaction and decision-making is put forward for discussion and further research.


Social Interaction Rational Maximization Public Finance Potential Model Social Order 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Addleson, M. (1995) Equilibrium Versus Understanding: Towards the Restoration of Economics as Social Theory. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Adler, P. A., Adler, P., and Fontana, A. (1987) “Everyday Life Sociology.” Annual Review of Sociology, 13: 217–235.Google Scholar
  3. Augier, M., Knudsen, T., and Vendelo, M. (1998) “Three Perspectives on Time and Choice: Schütz, Shackle and Heidegger.” Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  4. Backhouse, R. E. (ed.) (1997) New Directions in Economic Methodology. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Baugh, K. R., Jr and Mohan, R. P. (1985) “Husserl, Schütz, and Garfinkel: Some Continuities and Contrasts.” Quarterly Journal of Ideology, 9(1): 2––12.Google Scholar
  6. Blaug, M. (1990) Economic Theory in Retrospect. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Butos, W. N., and Koppl, R. G. (1997) “The Varieties of Subjectivism: Keynes and Hayek on Expectations.” History of Political Economy, 29: 2.Google Scholar
  8. Chriss, J. J. (1995) “Some Thoughts on Recent Efforts to Further Systematize Goffman.” Sociological Forum, 10(1): 177–185.Google Scholar
  9. Chriss, J. J. (1992) “How Is Society Possible? Intersubjectivity and the Fiduciary Attitude as Problems of the Social Group in Mead, Gurwitsch, and Schütz.” Contemporary Sociology-A Journal of Reviews, 21(2): 283–284.Google Scholar
  10. Collins, R. (1989) “Toward a Neo-Meadian Sociology of Mind.” Symbolic Interaction, 12(1): 1–32.Google Scholar
  11. Collins, R. (1993) “The Rationality of Avoiding Choice.” Rationality and Society, 5(1): 58–67.Google Scholar
  12. Collins, R. (1994) Four Sociological Traditions. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Esser, H. (1993) “The Rationality of Everyday Behavior: A Rational Choice Reconstruction of the Theory of Action by Alfred Schütz.” Rationality and Society, 5(1): 7–31.Google Scholar
  14. Forstater, M. “Lowe's Critique of Economic Laws and the Development of an Interpretive-Structural Economics.” Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  15. Foss, N. Juul. (1996) “Spontaneous Social Order: Economics and Schützian Sociology.” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 55: 73–86.Google Scholar
  16. Goffman, E. (1982) Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  17. Goffman, E. (1983) “The Interaction Order.” American Sociological Review, 48: 1–17.Google Scholar
  18. Goffman, E. (1995) Forms of Talk. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  19. Gorman, R. A. (1977) The Dual Vision: Alfred Schütz and the Myth of Phenomenological Social Science Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  20. Heritage, J. (1996) Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology. Cambridge: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  21. Kivisto, P., and Swatos, W. H. Jr. (1990) “Weber and Interpretive Sociology in America.” The Sociological Quarterly, 31(1): 149–164.Google Scholar
  22. Koppl, R. (1992) “Invisible-Hand Explanations and Neoclassical Economics: Toward a Post Marginalist Economics.” Journal of Institutional & Theoretical Economics, 148(2): 292–313.Google Scholar
  23. Koppl, R. (1994) “Lachmann on Schütz and Shackle.” Advances in Austrian Economics, 1: 289–302.Google Scholar
  24. Koppl, R. (1997) “Mises and Schütz on Ideal Types.” Cultural Dynamics, 9(1): 63–76.Google Scholar
  25. Langsdorf, L. (1986) “Making Sense of Reification: Alfred Schütz and the Constructionist Theory.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 16(2): 262–264.Google Scholar
  26. Lawson, T. (1997). Economics and Reality. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Ostrow, J. M. (1996) “Spontaneous Involvement and Social Life.” Sociological Perspectives, 39(3): 341–351.Google Scholar
  28. Rima, I. H. (1996) Development of Economic Analysis. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Shearmur, J. (1993) “Schütz, Machlup and Rational Economic Man: Some Problems for Economic Imperialism?” Review of Political Economy, 5(4): 491–507.Google Scholar
  30. Weber, M. (1978) Economy and Society. University of California Press: Berkeley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathon E. Mote
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia

Personalised recommendations