Thomas Luckmann

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Thomas Luckmann (born October 14, 1927) is an American-Austrian sociologist of Slovene origin who taught mainly in Germany. His main areas of research are the 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 has worked as a professor of Sociology at the University of Konstanz in Germany, where he has been professor emeritus since 1994.(Citation required)


Luckmann is a follower of the phenomenologically oriented school of sociology, established by the Austrian-American scholar Alfred Schütz. In his works, he has 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 is 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[edit]


  • Frane Adam, "Tomaž Luckmann" in Thomas Luckmann, Družba, komunikacija, smisel, transcendenca (Ljubljana: Študentska založba, 2007)
  • Patricija Maličev, "Thomas Luckmann. Človek s posebnostmi" in Delo, Sobotna priloga (April 12, 2008), 25-27
  • Bernt Schnettler, "Thomas Luckmann", UVK, Konstanz 2007 (in German, 158 pages)
  • Marcin K. Zwierżdżynski, "Where is Religion? The Five Dichotomies of Thomas Luckmann", Nomos, Cracow 2009 (in Polish, 288 pages, with Summary in English)

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