Radically reconstituting the subject: social theory and human nature

O'Donnell, Mike H. (2003) Radically reconstituting the subject: social theory and human nature. Sociology, 37 (4). pp. 753-770. ISSN 0038-0385


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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00380385030374007


This article analyses some assumptions about human nature and subject agency apparent in two approaches to social theory: liberalism, particularly Giddens, and structuralism/poststructuralism, particularly Foucault. Feminist and Critical Theory are also drawn on. Disagreements between these approaches in relation to subject agency and structural influence are noted but an attempt is made to find complementary and common ground and to that extent to reconcile them. In so far as an integrated theoretical approach is achievable from the work of Foucault and Giddens, it is suggested that the term radical liberal best describes it. Nevertheless, this term sits more comfortably with Giddens than Foucault. I seek critical leverage on both thinkers by adopting an explicitly Freudian view of human capacities and a politically egalitarian perspective. Copyright 2003 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Online ISSN 1469-8684
Uncontrolled Keywords: Agency, structure, determinism, voluntarism, human capacities, liberalism, post, structuralism, radicalism, subject
Subjects: University of Westminster > Social Sciences and Humanities
Depositing User: Miss Nina Watts
Date Deposited: 31 May 2007
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2010 14:32
URI: http://westminsterresearch.wmin.ac.uk/id/eprint/4098

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