The concept of the lifeworld refers to the human world in its prescientific matter of course and of experiencing in contrast to the theoretically determined scientific worldview. He became known for in the phenomenology of Husserl and his sociological interpretation by Alfred Schutz and later by Jürgen Habermas importance. Currently the life-world concept is used in constructivist theory approaches, or reformulated such as Jürgen Mittelstraß or Björn Kraus.

  • 4.1 Methodological and constructivist lifeworld concept
  • 4.2 Systemic- constructivist concept of lifeworld
  • 6.1 Primary Sources
  • 6.2 secondary literature

First use

The concept of life-world has its origin in the second third of the 19th century. Already Heinrich Heine used it in 1836 in his Florentine nights. Later the term particularly in biology and botany is relevant, before he began his career in philosophy, including Karl Joel and Rudolf Eucken. Ernst Troeltsch uses the concept of the lifeworld in the philosophy of religion turn. He speaks of the " Christian life world ", which is to make an exchange of the traditional belief in revelation with the historical manifestations of Christian religious life. Characteristic of the term, especially for the food philosophy (G. Simmel, W. Dilthey ).


In the context of Husserl's phenomenology is the concept of the lifeworld as a central object of philosophy.

Husserl developed the concept in his book The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology as part of its considerations on the general "crisis of European sciences ". According to Husserl, the positive sciences, the deluded people in the second half of the 19th century, by which they owed ​​economic and technological prosperity. Around the turn of the century took place, however, a general revaluation, an increasing criticism of these sciences, which just turned away from those questions that are " for a true humanity the ultimate":

The cause of this crisis sees Husserl that has been forgotten that all the science in the everyday world is based. The life of the world is self-evident, unquestioned floor both all everyday actions and thoughts as well as any scientific theorizing and philosophizing. It is the " primordial sphere " - not only because it even without the modern conception of science with its objective notion of truth existed, but also because many of the life-world of sense and validity ratios for each scientific reasoning must necessarily be assumed.

Husserl uses the concept of the lifeworld in an ambiguous sense: He means the one hand, the universe of self-evident, as anthropological foundation of any determination of the relationship of man to the world, and he called on the other hand, the practical, clear and concrete life world. This ambiguity spans the life-world concept into the tension of opposites between Ahistorischem and historically Wandelbarem, the universal and the concrete, between the singular and the historically diverse. So he becomes the basis of criticism and the object of enlightenment at the same time.

The life-world as the unchanging world of objective perception beings faces the imprinted by humans socio- historical- cultural environment.


On this basis, developed especially by the transfer and application in sociology different meaning variants of the term. The living world can epistemologically have ontological significance or describe the world that we experience individually, mean the area of ​​the self-evident, traditional action or even a comprehensive historically given socio - cultural environment. Knowledge Sociologically, the life-world are considered as the basis for any science and either in its structure than the historical life-worlds underlying be investigated or structure as culturally preformed and shared by all human sense-world experience and perception.

Alfred Schutz draws on the life-world concept of Husserl and introduces the concept for sociological analysis. The original ambiguity continues in his daily life term. Everyday life, the world of "everyone" is " paramount reality " to understand (contactor), in which each person lives than those who thinks, acts and communicates with others. The everyday world is just given to anyone and is accepted without question, and of course, she is the unquestioned ground of all events. The everyday world is from the outset an intersubjective cultural world in which all the facts are always interpreted facts that refer to contexts of meaning and interpretation patterns that allow the experience and action in the everyday world. Experience manner of everyday understanding referred contactor as "common sense", living in the " natural attitude ".

Everyday life and the world are also here on the one hand as a culturally shaped sensible world and the other as a basis of all perception and understanding of a given socio-cultural environment and therefore its developed knowledge bases to understand at all. Everyday life is thus both the subject of education as well as ontological basis of criticism of special knowledge assets.


Communication theory interpretation of the life-world

Jürgen Habermas criticized the phenomenological conception of the life world that this is referring to a " egologisches consciousness " and thus prolong the subject- philosophical paradigm. Habermas wants to bring a communication- theoretical interpretation of the life-world concept whose proper sense to the fore: the paradigm shift from monologic to dialogic subjectivity intersubjectivity. He reformulated the concept of life-world as follows:

Habermas distinguishes three aspects of life, which may seem, depending on the action or the speech situation in each case as a culture, as a society and as a personality. These three aspects of the lifeworld Habermas defined as follows:

The life-world acts of communication participants as "the transcendental place to meet the speaker and hearer; where they reciprocally can make the claim that their utterances fit together with the world [ ... ]; and where they criticize these validity claims and confirm stage their dissent and obtain consent. "

Lifeworld and communicative action

Lifeworld and communicative action are for Habermas in a dialectical relationship to each other:

Communicative action thus serves the tradition of cultural knowledge and its renewal in the field of culture, social integration and the production of solidarity in the society and the formation of personal identities in the area of ​​the person. The " reproduction of the lifeworld " is a dialectical unity of continuity and rupture, ie ". Continuation of a tradition and renewal that moves between the extremes of mere continuation of, and a break with tradition " in

Lifeworld as constructivism

Methodical- constructivist lifeworld concept

In Methodological constructivism of the concept of the lifeworld by Jürgen Mittelstraß was again more in the sense of Husserl taken as the " lifeworld a priori " that is both genetically and logically and methodologically is inescapable in front of all the development of reality and thus is the basis of all exact sciences. Is resumed, the concept of life-world in method culturalism, for which he refers to the generally accepted pre-scientific language and action practice. Life-world is then a section of the world as that is relevant for the particular practice context. Thus, the life-world of a miner has other remuneration than that of a farmer or a doctor.

Systemic- constructivist concept of lifeworld

The systemic- constructivist lifeworld phrase Björn Kraus also considered its phenomenological roots ( Husserl and Schütz ), these accesses and executes them, however, in the context of epistemological constructivist theory further. Here, an approach is designed, which takes not only the prospect of a life egological world concept in the view, but of the below mentioned Habermas emphasized relevance of social and material environment conditions can be considered. The basis for this is the central Kraus basic assumption of a fundamental double bond structure of human development.

"On the one hand, the reality of life of every man is the subjective construct, on the other hand this construct is not arbitrary, but - in spite of subjectivity - due to the structural coupling of man to his environment -. Precisely influenced and limited by the conditions of that environment "

Can build on this understanding, a separation of individual perception and the social and material conditions are made. Kraus picks up the systemic-constructivist concretization of the life-world concept to the concept of living conditions and represents the two terms over contrasting.

" In this respect, (...) the life-world on the one hand an irreducibly subjective category, but on the other hand due to the structural coupling is subject to the conditions of the situation. Specifically, part of the life situation of a person 's tangible and intangible features. This includes not only the environment in terms of material facilities, housing, etc. funding, but also the intangible equipment, such as the available social network. In addition, also includes equipping his organism for life situation; So his physical constitution would also be a condition of the situation. The perception of these conditions, however, makes the world of a human being. "

Kraus makes use of the constructivist distinction between reality and reality. " One is the subjective construction under the conditions of the other. In other words, the life-world is also the subjective construction of a people like the reality and this subjective construction takes place under the conditions of the life situation or the reality " In the systemic-constructivist understanding proposed here, the terms life world and life situation that is determined as follows. be: "When life situation, the social, environmental and organismic living conditions of people apply. As lifeworld applies the subjective reality construction of a human (which the latter under the conditions of his situation in life forms ). "

These contrasting juxtaposition provides a conceptual clarification and enables a first step, conceptually distinguish the subjective experience of the world of their material and social conditions, and then to take in a second step, the relevance of these conditions for the subjective construction of reality in the view.