The Subjectivity of Suffering

Part of the Culture, Mind, and Society book series (CMAS)


A cancer patient, asked how he was doing, reported that his daughter was ill and his wife was about to leave to visit her parents. He explained that he feared getting his daughter’s cold or flu because he felt this would send him to the hospital, since he had a suppressed immune system. He would miss his wife, and he was concerned about how he would take care of himself in her absence. He said he was thinking of these two things, and “getting down,” when he had the thought that it did “no good to worry or feel bad about it.” He then “felt much better.” He added that he “felt lighter.”


Auditory Hallucination Human Capacity Virtual Experience Moral Person Mental Agent 
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  1. 1.
    Skinner and Holland (1996) discuss the way students in Nepal imagine futures and selves that do not involve traditional gender and caste practices. Modernity as it takes local form shifts the cultural grounds of the work of self.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mead and Peirce, along with William James and Dewey, remain fruitful sources of ideas about the self as reflexive and dialogical. Dorothy Holland and her colleagues (1998) have developed notions of a dialogical self based on Russian theorists:Google Scholar
  3. Vygotsky and Bahktin figured language, words, speech as the key means of subjectivity and consciousness, and both held “inner speech” to be the key intra-mental mode, where social speech penetrated the body and became the premiere building block of thought and feeling.Google Scholar
  4. The possibility of directing speech to oneself is … for Vygosky, the possibility of achieving at least a modicum of control over one’s own behavior. (174–175)Google Scholar

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© Steven M. Parish 2008

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