The central task in social phenomenology is to demonstrate the reciprocal interactions among the processes of human action, situational structuring, and reality construction. Rather than contending that any aspect is a causal factor, phenomenology views all dimensions as constitutive of all others. Phenomenologists use the term reflexivity to characterize the way in which constituent dimensions serve as both foundation and consequence of all human projects. The task of phenomenology, then, is to make manifest the incessant tangle or reflexivity of action, situation, and reality in the various modes of being in the world.
Phenomenology commences with an analysis of the natural attitude. This is understood as the way ordinary individuals participate in the world, taking its existence for granted, assuming its objectivity, and undertaking action projects as if they were predetermined. Language, culture, and common sense are experienced in the natural attitude as objective features of an external world that are learned by actors in the course of their lives.