Thomas Luckmann

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Thomas Luckmann
Professor, Sociologist
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Thomas Luckmann (October 14, 1927- May 10, 2016) was an American-Austrian sociologist of Slovene origin who taught mainly in Germany. His contributions were central to studies in sociology of communication, sociology of knowledge, sociology of religion, and the philosophy of science.

He was born as Tomaž Luckmann in the Slovenian industrial border town of Jesenice, then part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. His father was an Austrian industrialist, while his mother was from a Slovene family from Ljubljana. On his mother side, he was the cousin of the Slovene poet Božo Vodušek. He grew up in a bilingual environment. In the family, they spoke both Slovene and German, and he attended Slovene-language schools in Jesenice until 1941, and then German ones. During World War II, he and his mother moved to Vienna. Luckmann studied philosophy and linguistics at the University of Vienna and Innsbruck. He later moved to the United States, where he studied at The New School in New York.

He worked as a professor of Sociology at the University of Konstanz in Germany, where was professor emeritus since 1994.


Luckmann was a follower of the phenomenologically oriented school of sociology, established by the Austrian-American scholar Alfred Schütz. In his works, he developed a theory, known as social constructionism, which argues that all knowledge, including the most basic common sense knowledge of everyday reality, is derived from and maintained by social interactions. Luckmann is probably best known for the books The Social Construction of Reality, written together with Peter L. Berger in 1966, and Structures of the Life-World, which he wrote with Alfred Schütz in 1982.[clarification needed]

Luckmann was a member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts and holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of Linköping, Ljubljana, Trier and Buenos Aires.

Essential bibliography

  • The Social Construction of Reality (1966, with Peter L. Berger)
  • The Invisible Religion (1967)
  • The Sociology of Language (1975)
  • Structures of the Life-World (1982, with Alfred Schütz)
  • Life-World and Social Realities (1983)



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