In Memory of Peter L. Berger (1929-2017)
The International Alfred Schutz Circle for Phenomenology and Interpretive Social Science mourns the death of Peter L. Berger who died on June 27th at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts. He studied with Alfred Schutz at the New School for Social Research in the 1950s and became one of the internationally most renowned sociologists in the second half of the 20th century. Berger was the author of a series of influential publications, most significantly of The Social Construction of Reality, which he co-wrote together with Thomas Luckmann. The Executive Committee of the Alfred Schutz Circle expresses its condolences to Dr. Berger's relatives and colleagues.
In Memory of Lester Embree (1938-2017)
After months of struggle with a spinal injury and complications, Lester Embree, Ph.D., passed away on January 19, 2017. He was Professor of Philosophy at Florida Atlantic University and received his Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research in 1972. He did his
postdoctoral work with Aron Gurwitsch and had taken classes with Dorion Cairns. He was instrumental in setting up the archives for the papers and files of, among others, Alfred Schutz, Aron Gurwitsch, and Dorion Cairns. He was a prolific scholar, having published 5 book-length investigations, 94 book chapters, 89 interpretive essays, 46 edited books, and 31 edited works of other authors. Many of his works have been published in several languages. He also gave 200 presentations in various conferences and academic settings. He served on the boards of 35 phenomenological societies and belonged to 20 philosophical societies. One of his great services was to foster the growth of phenomenological organizations worldwide, and he was frequently involved in the beginnings of such organizations, such as the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology, the Organization of Phenomenological Organizations, the Husserl Circle, the Círculo LatinoAmericano de Fenomenología, the Central and European Conference in Phenomenology, the Nordic Society for Phenomenology, Phenomenology for the East Asia Circle, Réseau Euro-Méditerranéen de phénoménologie pour le dialogue interculturel, the Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences, and the International Alfred Schutz Circle for Phenomenology and Interpretive Social Science. He was instrumental in establishing two book series, Contributions to Phenomenology (Springer Press) and the Series in Continental Thought (Ohio State University Press).
He was a great entrepreneur for phenomenology, always imagining and realizing new phenomenological projects and setting up new organizations. His service to phenomenology included encouraging the practice of phenomenological method, fostering multidisciplinary engagement, mentoring a generation of younger phenomenology scholars, and helping the tradition of phenomenology to flourish across cultures. In the many scholarly conferences he attended, he could be counted on to provide regular illuminating comments based on the views of authoritative phenomenologists, particularly those of the New School; to offer encouraging compliments and insightful criticisms; and to occasionally indulge in instances of corny humor. With Lester's death, phenomenology has lost one of its great animating spirits.
In Memory of Thomas Luckmann (1927-2016)
We commemorate Thomas Luckmann who passed away on May 10, 2016 at the age of 88. Thomas Luckmann (born at the 14th of October, 1927 in Jesenice/Slowenia) studied Philosophy, German Literature, Romance Philology and Psychology at the Universities of Vienna and Innsbruck and the New School for Social Research, where he studied with Alfred Schutz. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology in the year of 1956, and from 1960-65 he taught at the New School. When in 1965 he was offered a professorship at the University of Frankfurt, he returned to Europe. In 1970 he transferred to the University of Konstanz where he worked as a professor in Sociology until his retirement in 1994.
Thomas Luckmann is one of the most significant representatives of German after-war Sociology and already during his lifetime has been considered one of classical thinkers of the sociological discipline. His major publications are The Social Construction of Reality (1966) together with Peter L. Berger, establishing a new sociology of knowledge; The Invisible Religion (1967), which refounded the sociology of religion, and the standard work The Structures of the Life-World (1975/1984), initiated by his teacher Alfred Schutz and completed by Luckmann. The Social Construction of Reality is one of the most influential publications of the sociological discipline; the American Sociological Association considers it to be one of the ten most important books in Sociology and it was translated into thirteen different languages.
With the death of Thomas Luckmann, we lose an outstanding and exceptional thinker of the human sciences and one of its finest persons.