Reflexivity and the Project of Modernity

  • John JervisEmail author


The idea that our knowledge of the world must incorporate an awareness of the impact of our presence in it has been central to the modern project, suggesting a reflexive dimension to such knowledge. The limits of this, and the paradoxes engendered by ignoring them, are sources of the distortions and rationalizations that result in practice, whether for the individual or in organizational contexts, where protocols of reflexivity and accountability produce a collapse of rationality into its opposite, an imposed, and arbitrary routine. These tensions can be precariously resolved through ‘style’, but still reveal a necessary inscrutability of the subject to itself, resulting in a fracturing of our experience of the world that project seeks to master, manifest at the individual level in the repetitive pattern of addiction, and showing the need to distinguish between a motivational ‘unconscious’ and a modernist or reflexive ‘non-conscious’.


Project Modernity Reflexivity Accountability Style Addiction 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KentCanterburyUK

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