Individual Responsibility and Society: A Subject Science Approach

  • Ute Osterkamp


This article questions the prevailing individualized notions of subjectivity, individuality and responsibility and points to their function in justifying restrictive conditions by reversing the causes and the consequences of suppression. It advances the notion of “meta-subjectivity” referring to the specific human potentiality of consciously influencing the conditions influencing us — only to be realized on a meta-individual level and necessarily implying our responsibility for societal development and thus also for the situation and behavior of others. This is elucidated using approaches explicitly criticizing traditional psychology’s individualism while replacing it by a more societal approach and showing how such approaches relapse into individualism when they ignore specific human “meta-subjectivity” and along with it the manifold obstacles to realizing it.


Societal Condition Critical Psychology Emotional Appraisal Social Constructionist Theory Traditional Psychology 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ute Osterkamp
    • 1
  1. 1.Free University of BerlinGermany

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