News and Notes

Feb. 2013

At its annual meeting, November 1-3, 2012, in Rochester, N.Y., the Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences (SPHS) honored George Psathas, Emeritus Professor of Sociology (Boston University) for his contributions to phenomenological sociology and ethnomethodology with a special session and a Festschrift, Interaction and Everyday Life, edited by Frances Chaput Waksler and Hisashi Nasu, published by Lexington Press (Rowman and Littlefield) 2012.

Contributors to the Festschrift were nineteen internationally known scholars from the United States, Germany, South Korea, Switzerland, and Japan. In their contributions they noted how, in various ways, they had been influenced and informed their thinking and their work.

May 2012

The first meeting of the Schutz Circle was organized in New York, May 22-24, 2012, and titled "International Alfred Schutz Circle for Phenomenology and Interpretive Social Science. " I was part of the organizing group and also presented a paper, "On Garfinkel and Schutz: Their Correspondence and Meetings. "

Past news

Recently went to various meetings and presented papers most of which I could give as talks to various audiences particularly if invited. Have re-read Goffman for a while and did a paper on his criticisms of Schutz. This was: "Goffman and Schutz on Multiple Realities,"presented at Institute for Human Sciences, International Conference on Schutz and Hermeneutics, Vienna, September 2007

Then kept writing about Goffman after having read many of his works in order to learn even more than I already knew about him. Even read his dissertation! Had a roundtable at the ASA meetings in Boston: "Goffman and Schutz: A Non-meeting of Minds," Roundtable, the American Sociological Association, Boston, August, 2008.

But also became interested in Goffman's early, seemingly friendly, contacts with ethnomethodology. He had Sacks and Sudnow in his classes and had been on Sacks' Ph.D. dissertation committee until he withdrew. I had congratulated him when he was elected as President of the ASA and looked forward to meetings in which qualitative perspectives, such as ethnomethodology would be more frequent. However, he told me to write him a letter and I received little encouragement. That lead nowhere and in a short while he was dead.

So recently I wrote: "Why Goffman was NOT an Ethnomethodologist," presented at EM/CA Section meetings of the American Sociological Association, Boston, August, 2008

Then, just to show the Department at Boston University that I was still active and writing I presented at a Department of Sociology Colloquium a paper on Schutz and his activities, particularly in America. "Alfred Schutz: Philosopher and Sociologist," October 2009.

This turned out to be a very nice meeting because Angela Garcia, now Chair at Bentley, head of the EM/CA Section of the ASA came to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to me. I had been unable to go to San Francisco in August when the Award was announced. Nice to know that all the things one has done in a lifetime in sociology are honored!

Currently am reading economics to find out what happened to the Austrian School of Economics which Ludwig von Mises founded and whose seminar Schutz attended while in Vienna. This School is still very much active - there is a von Mises website. He had come to the U.S. and taught here, influencing a number of economists and it is interesting to try to trace his influence on Alfred Schutz.

The International Institute for Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis (IIEM/CA) is still active and will hold a conference in July, 2011 in Fribourg (Switzerland) organized by Esther Gonzalez and Lorena Mondada. For those of you who came to the one held at Bentley University in 2006 (I think it was) Esther at that time was on a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Boston University and did most of the work in organizing that conference. She was at BU for about three years and we met almost weekly during that time.

I still have to apologize to Lorenza about the Italian dinner in the North End - food was hardly genuine Italian food and not a good taste of Boston. We'll have to do better in Switzerland.

More news in the future.