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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.

Indifference: Towards Contemporary Inexperience
Indifference: Towards contemporary inexperience

He inhabited a whole world of his own, totally self-contained, created in a haze of Pernod or brandy, in which he wandered around totally indifferent to the real world. It was a formless world, a teeming ant-hill of flitting shadows where nothing mattered, nothing had any purpose, where it was possible to wander aimlessly, effortlessly, feeling neither joy nor sadness, cocooned in a thick mist.

Simenon, The Bar on the Seine

They seemed uninvolved … seemed rather to be watching themselves in the glass of the windshield where, superimposed on the varied confusion of park and sky, a few of their features were reflected at random: their eyes, their mouths, Carla's childish cheeks, Leo's felt hat – detached and suspended ...

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