Subjectivity of Self

Within the chapter Subjectivity in the Theory Toolbox, we receive insight into the definitions of the idea of “self” and the idea of  “subject”. Before reading this, I had never put a lot of thought into the the ideas that are presented about how there really is no way a person can be an individual, because every person and every action made by that person is a reflection of the society they live in and those who effect them. We like to think we all have some sort of “intrinsic self individuality”, and are our own people, but in reality our person and character are a result of cultural and societal influence. This idea of “self” centers around who you are when you are born, without any influence of external factors, and will always be you, deep down. But this idea of “subject” refers to us being subject to something or someone, where outside factors change the way we act, which is essentially how we present ourselves to the world.

Personally, I like to think of myself as an individual, someone who is not always apt to go with the flow, and someone who does things that can be set apart from the actions of others (not a basic white girl). But in saying this about myself, I merely place myself into a category of other people who think they are set apart from the mainstream. This opens up more quandaries about how I am not the person who came up with any of the ideas I think to be my own, and therefore am just emulating what I have seen other people do that I liked. Although this isn’t supposed to be taken as an attack on my character, it made me rethink what a person’s sense of “self” is really based off of.

One Response to Subjectivity of Self

  1. Prof VZ January 24, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    Great reflection. It does make one re-think was “selfhood” means. As I’ve noted in other comments on posts that take on this idea, I think this simply make the idea of “self” more rooted in one’s society. And societies are endlessly complex, and we are so complex. We don’t have an “identity” that is stable: we exist at the intersection of multiple identities–racial, familial, cultural, artistic, ethnic, etc. Our role as a son or daughter might be constrained by social norms of what it means to be a son or daughter, but those constraints are not so much limiting as they are clarifying. But when our various roles collide, that’s when a more active negotiation among contexts gives us that sense of lived, complex “selfhood.” Our contexts constrain us, but our negotiations amongst those contexts can be truly freeing.

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