Thomas Luckmann (* 14 October 1927 in Aßling, Kingdom of Yugoslavia; † 10 May 2016) was a citizen of the United States of America. He studied philosophy, linguistics and psychology at the universities of Innsbruck and Vienna and philosophy and sociology in New York.
At one of the most renowned social science universities in the USA, the New School for Social Research, he earned an M.A. in philosophy in 1953 and a Ph.D. in sociology in 1956. After teaching at Hobart and Smith College in Geneva and at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York, he came to Frankfurt in the mid-1960s as a full professor of sociology, where he remained until 1970. From 1970 until his retirement in 1994, he was a full professor at the University of Konstanz, where he pursued important research activities for a long time.
In addition to his activities in Konstanz and Frankfurt, Prof. Dr. Luckmann was a visiting professor in Freiburg, at the Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge (MA), at Wollongong University in Australia, as well as in Vienna, Salzburg, Ljubljiana and Trondheim. He was also a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies at Stanford University (CA) and was a member of the Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from Linköping University, Sweden and the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Within the framework of his numerous research activities, in addition to his studies on the structures of the lifeworld, his works on the sociology of knowledge, religion and language are particularly noteworthy. Probably Luckmann's most famous work is the publication, together with Peter L. Berger, "The Social Construction of Reality. A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge", which is internationally regarded as a classic of an action-theoretical and phenomenologically oriented sociology of knowledge based on Alfred Schütz.
Thomas Luckmann has also had an influence on the Trier sociology tradition, as he has always maintained a close relationship with Trier in particular as an internationally renowned scholar.
On the one hand, a number of local sociologists studied under Luckmann or passed examinations with him (Braun, Eckert, Hahn, Leitner, Riegel); on the other hand, his post-doctoral lecturer Jörg Bergmann held a substitute position here in Trier for a year, which had important lasting effects on the institutionalisation of qualitative methods. There were also joint editorships and intensive cooperation in the field of sociology of religion, media and culture. Professor Luckmann was thus honoured as the centre of a network of national and international research contacts in which research in Trier is also integrated. For general sociology in particular, Luckmann's theory of action has always played a very important role as an orientation for Trier sociology. In addition, Luckmann has repeatedly taken part in seminars in Trier and given lectures, and colleagues from Trier have conversely taken part in workshops led or inspired by Luckmann in Constance and at international congresses, so that a permanent, lively exchange of knowledge has developed.
On 15 December 1999, Prof. Dr. Luckmann was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Trier.