, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 57–73 | Cite as

On becoming political: the political in subjectivity

  • Jouni HäkliEmail author
  • Kirsi Pauliina Kallio
Original Article


This article explores mundane political agency. We introduce the notion of the political ordinary as agency based on the capacity of human beings to carry out acts that are undetermined and unexpected, and thus capable of challenging, opposing, negotiating, maintaining, and readjusting prevailing conditions. We approach subjectivity from a pragmatist and phenomenological point of view and argue that it is the condition of possibility of political agency. The paper demonstrates how political subjectivity can be located in the ways in which people take up issues that stand out as important to them. To this end, we look into the everyday life experiences of an eleven-year-old girl whose struggles related to proposed subject positions provide examples of mundane political agency. We conclude by arguing that political agency is the subject’s action when in a state of becoming prompted by future-oriented demands and contingencies of social life.


Subjectivity The political Agency Temporality Attentiveness Everyday life 



We wish to thank the Academy of Finland (grant SA258341) and the RELATE Centre of Excellence (grant SA307348) for financially supporting this work, and the Space and Political Agency Research Group (SPARG) at the University of Tampere for an inspiring research environment. We are also grateful to the editors of Subjectivity and the two anonymous reviewers for their engaged and helpful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Space and Political Agency Research Group, School of ManagementUniversity of TampereTampereFinland

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