• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This innovative and thought-provoking book argues that phenomenology was the most significant, wide-ranging and influential philosophy to emerge in the twentieth century. The social character of phenomenology is explored in its relation to the concern in twentieth century sociology with questions of modern experience. Phenomenology and sociology come together as 'ethnographies of the present'. As such, they break free of the self-imposed limitations of each to establish a new, critical understanding of contemporary life. By reading phenomenology sociologically and sociology phenomenologically, this book reconstructs a phenomenological sociology of modern experience.

Astonishment: The Birth and Rebirth of the Phenomenal
Astonishment: The birth and rebirth of the phenomenal

It is a primal state of amazement which sets all the creative forces of the soul to work.

Buber, Moses

‘What gives rise to phenomenological analysis is an unsettling wonder in the presence of things’ (Welton 2000, 13). It is to the initiatory power of phenomena themselves that we should turn for an immediately meaningful context in which to view the emergence of phenomenology. And where wonder stands at the beginning of philosophy in the ancient world, what might better be called astonishment at the outpouring of modern phenomena is the particular disposition that inaugurates phenomenology. Wonder should be considered not as something that stands apart from philosophy as an exterior cause ...

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