A sociologist who has to confront himself with social change cannot avoid running into subjectivity considered a clear indicator of the most recent tendencies which are going through contemporary society. The demand for subjectivity, generically intended as self-consciousness and need for self-fulfilment, is undoubtedly a distinguishing feature of our age. The central role this concept has gained within recent sociological literature, however coincides with the rise of a postmodern sociology, which tends to put forward a precise image of subjectivity I would call “minimalist”. Through its call to subjectivity, postmodern sociology intends to celebrate indeed a radical freeing from the ethical, social and relational constraints that would have oppressed human beings during modernity, which was characterized by a high degree of socio-centrism. Although I share all the statements which aim at underlining the positive achievements of subjectivity over the constrictions and the de-personalizing forces which distressed the so-called homo sociologicus, I think we need nonetheless to distance ourselves from this new reductionism, which levels out subjectivity to its postmodern conception, and to underline instead the existence of a dual aspect in contemporary subjectivity. As a matter of fact, along with its minimalist and disengaged aspect, conceptualized in the homo psyichologicus, another possible expression, called “significant subjectivity” is emerging, which is a typical feature of the kind of man I propose to define civicus, a man who distinguishes himself because of his ability to become the bearer of an authentic responsible freedom. Consequently, we can identify two different aspects, at least, in contemporary subjectivity, notably a minimalist and a significant aspect.
- Homo civicus
- SOCIOLOGY OF THE PERSON