Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 68, Issue 3, pp 285–301 | Cite as

Pebbles in the Shoe: Acts of Compassion as Subversion in a Market Society

  • Ryan LaMotheEmail author


This article considers how compassion can be subversive to political-economic orders, whether these orders are found in church or society. Compassion is explained in terms of John Macmurray’s and Alex Honneth’s notion of recognition, the psychoanalytic concept of identification, and Michel Foucault’s views of knowledge and power. To illustrate how compassion can be subversive, the author turns to the realities of a market society—a society dominated by a culture of neoliberalism and neoliberal capitalism—and concludes with two case illustrations.


Compassion Empathy Capitalism Neoliberalism Identification Power Subversion 



I would like to thank the participants in New Directions in Pastoral Theology for their comments on this paper. I would also like to thank Lewis Rambo for his support of New Directions in Pastoral Psychology.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of TheologySt. MeinradUSA

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