The Free and Social Self



Popular assumptions and contemporary social thought alike now question the possibility of individual freedom or personal unity. The individual is assumed to be buffeted about and split internally by forces over which he has no control. Even his self conception is interpreted in derivative terms. This contemporary vision also makes genuine social relationships problematical. For social experience is not possible if men relate as automatons. A theory that places the individual’s nature and development largely within his own control is, Hocking believes, necessary to an acceptable theory of society. And participation in large and small social groups must be essential to the individual’s fulfillment if social relationships are to be more than mere additional restrictions on his liberty. An “individualistic theory of society” must not only defend human freedom and sociality, but also must integrally relate the two. Hocking develops such a theory and argues that it offers a more comprehensive analysis of human experience than other twentieth century alternatives.


Public Order Individual Freedom Personal Unity Individualistic Theory Political Socialization 
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Louisiana State University in New OrleansUSA

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