Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo

Subjectivity, Overview

  • Valerie Walkerdine
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_596


Subjectivity is a term which entered critical psychological work in relation to debates within European social theory in the 1960s and 1970s. In particular, it signaled the complexity of production of what it means to be a human subject as part of the production of the social and not the pregiven individual subject of traditional psychology, e.g., socialization theories’ assumption of a pregiven psychological subject made social. It is also to be contrasted with the term identity, which signals a socially given category.


The condition and experience of being a subject, including the process of production of subjects through subjectification or subjection.


Subjectification; psycomplex; power/knowledge/desire; discourse; experience; affect

Traditional Debates

The human subject in traditional psychology is assumed to be an object (rational unitary subject) (Henriques, Hollway, Urwin, Venn, & Walkerdine, 1984), which can be studied and defined separate...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiff University, School of Social SciencesCardiffUK