The Experience of the Stranger:

The Struggle to Find a Home and the Struggle to Welcome the Stranger

V. Conference of The International Alfred Schutz Circle for Phenomenology and Interpretive Social Science

Conference Program

Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA,

June 3-7, 2021 - Digital Conference 

Keynote Speakers: Thomas Eberle (University of St. Gallen), George Yancy (Emory University)

Immigration has become a central issue in Europe and North America, spawning both populist/nationalist opposition as well as moral and economic defenses. Correspondingly, migrants and refugees find themselves compelled to leave their homes to escape violence and unemployment and to seek asylum.  But the experience of the Stranger is not limited to the experience of immigrants or refugees since even within societies widespread, increasing societal polarization has resulted in citizens feeling that they are strangers to each other.  Within a single society, marginalized groups, subjected to discrimination and unwarranted violence, find themselves strangers in their own societies, and dominant groups are often haunted by their inability to understand others to whose lifetime experiences and social and economic struggles they are strangers.

The International Alfred Schutz Circle for Phenomenology and Interpretive Sociology, while gladly welcoming papers on other topics or the interpretation of Schutz’s work, chooses for the central topic of its fifth biennial conference the Experience of the Stranger. This topic was addressed famously in Alfred Schutz’s essay “The Stranger: An Essay in Social Psychology” and virtually throughout his corpus insofar as he was preoccupied with the interpretative discrepancies between in-groups and out-groups. Following this important distinction between group perspectives and Schutz’s phenomenological focus, the conference welcomes papers in which the “of” in its title can be taken subjectively, that is, how strangers experience the in-group they are approaching, as well as objectively, that is, how those already inhabiting the worlds strangers approach experience them.  Papers that elucidate how these different perspectives engage each other are also most desirable.

Possible topics might include: What are the typifications and relevances with which strangers approach out-groups and what are the corresponding and different typifications and relevances of those outgroups? How does each group accurately and/or inaccurately construct the meanings, including purposes, of the other group? What happens when these groups encounter each other, do they modify or harden their mistaken interpretations or build new interpretations?  Are groups inclined to soften their stances or is polarization exacerbated?  How can polarization be overcome? How does cultural pluralism transform the life-world?

Propositions should be written in English, and panel proposals are also welcome. Propositions on any aspect of Schutz’s work or its relevance to other problems are welcome in addition to those on the topic of the Stranger. Please submit an abstract of approximately 500 words. To be considered, all presentation proposals must include a cover sheet with name, paper title, affiliation, five key words, and full contact information, including email address. For more information, see our website

Please send all submissions to:

Local Organizers: Michael Barber (Saint Louis University), Jerry Williams (Stephen F. Austin State University)

Executive Committee:  Jochen Dreher (Chair) (University of Konstanz), Michael Barber, Carlos Belvedere (University of Buenos Aires), Andreas Göttlich (University of Konstanz), Teppei Sekimizu (Rissho University)

Conference Fee
Name and Affiliation