Subjectivity and strong relationality

Frank C. Richardson, Robert L. Woolfolk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Clifford Geertz (1973) argued that every culture is defined by both a “worldview” and an “ethos.” In his words, “A people’s ethos is the tone, character and quality of their life, its moral and aesthetic style and mood; it is the underlying attitude towards themselves and their world that life reflects” (p. 127). Thus, it seems likely that every view of self or subjectivity is informed in the crucible of one or another ethos and so is shaped at its core by a “moral vision” (Christopher, 1996) or “moral topography” (Taylor, 1988), by a constellation or grid of cultural values and assumptions about the nature of things that shapes our experience of life and guides our approach to living it. According to Taylor (1989), this means that “Selfhood and the good, or in another way selfhood and morality, turn out to be inextricably intertwined themes” (p. 3). Such questions about the good or right kind of life are not the special province of philosophers or intellectuals. Each of us has already answered these questions by how we live. Our thoughts, emotions, decisions, and behavior presuppose deep assumptions or coordinates, however inconsistent, whether we are aware of or can articulate them or not, about what is truly good or worthwhile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSubjectivity in the Twenty-First Century
Subtitle of host publicationPsychological, Sociological, and Political Perspectives
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781139035217
ISBN (Print)9781107007550
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


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