The Social Self, Social Relations, and Social (Moral) Practice

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Abstract

The primary task of this thesis is to explain what the relationship between social practice and the socially emergent self is, and to concurrently explain why this relationship is of significance to an accurate theory of social practice itself. A subsequent aim of this is to explain how the socially emergent self can be used to account for individual engagement in moral practices. Building on George Herbert Mead, it is argued that the social process through which the self emerges moulds the individual’s capacity to engage with social practice. It is argued that combining Mead’s theory of the socially emergent self with relational sociology provides a theoretical framework that can account for how intersubjective and historically situated social practices are taken on by the individual, to the extent that she can engage in such practices both reflectively and pre-reflectively. What is more, this theoretical synthesis is able to account for how social practices are engaged with in an incredibly routine and ‘ordinary’ manner, while also accounting for individual variation in this engagement. This theory is then applied to moral practices. It is contended that individual engagement in moral practice is not altogether different from engagement in social practice generally, and thus the theory offered here also accounts for how individuals are able to engage in moral practice in both a routine and an individualised manner.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Exeter
Thesis sponsors
  • Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
Publication statusPublished - 2017