European Journal of Social Theory 14 (2):161-179 (2011)

The article presents a model of performative agency in capitalist societies. The first section reconsiders the problem of third-dimensional power as developed by Steven Lukes, focusing on the relationships between universal human needs and social forms. The second section uses the concepts of the ‘self’, ‘I’ and ‘person’ to characterize the relationships between human nature, affect, individual alienation, social institutions and personal judgement. Alienation is argued to be inherent in human agency, rather than being solely created by capitalism. The next section applies this analysis within an agonal theory of civil society that is driven by the individual’s performative participation in associations that compete within institutional settings. Finally the article considers the political ramifications of this model, rejecting contemporary constitutionalist approaches in favour of a revised form of pluralist associationalism. Throughout, the article warns of the dangerous marginalization of emotions by excessively self-conscious, rationalist approaches such as Mead’s social theory, liberal universalism and even some performative theories.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/1368431011403460
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,199
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.

View all 28 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

An In-Depth Examination of Alienation.Gao Ertai - 1993 - Contemporary Chinese Thought 25 (1):4-26.
The Problem of the Alienation of Man in the Humanities. On the Current State of Research.Y. Chaykovskyy - 2012 - Epistemological studies in Philosophy, Social and Political Sciences 2 (22):264-269.
The Future of Alienation.Richard Schacht - 1994 - University of Illinois Press.
Alienation as a Critical Concept.Sean Sayers - 2011 - International Critical Thought 1 (3):287-304.
Forgetting and Remembering Alienation Theory.Chris Yuill - 2011 - History of the Human Sciences 24 (2):103-119.
Human Development and Alienation in the Thought of Karl Marx.Paul Raekstad - 2015 - European Journal of Political Theory (3):1474885115613735.


Added to PP index

Total views
1 ( #1,552,026 of 2,518,149 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #408,577 of 2,518,149 )

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes