The Open UniversitySkip to content
 

Which is the 'self' in 'self-interest'?

Du Gay, Paul (2005). Which is the 'self' in 'self-interest'? Sociological Review, 53(3) pp. 391–411.

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/bpl/sore/200...
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-954X.2005.00558.x
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar

Abstract

This article contends that homogenisation of the term 'self-interest'– in sociological and economic discourse – has resulted in many misconceptions about what particular doctrines of ‘self-interest’ were instituted to achieve at certain historical periods and in specific cultural milieux. At its worst, the article argues, this has led to a misunderstanding of the import of particular doctrines of self interest,which are read in terms of general tradition – such as that which views self-interested conduct as a natural faculty – rather than in terms of the context specific aims of those advocating them. The article attempts to show how, historically, there have been quite significant changes in the characterisation of the ‘self’ deemed to be ‘self-interested’. In particular, it focuses on the ‘self’ of certain early modern conceptions of self interest, and suggests this creation is best viewed not as a subjectivity transcendentally presupposed by experience, but as one historically cultivated to counter the exigencies of particular circumstances – the disaster of perpetual ‘warre’ in 17th century Europe – and to meet the purposes of a certain way of life – existence in the civitas.

Item Type: Journal Article
ISSN: 0038-0261
Academic Unit/Department: Social Sciences > Sociology
Item ID: 4440
Depositing User: Users 13 not found.
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2006
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2010 19:51
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/4440
Share this page:

Altmetrics

Scopus Citations

Actions (login may be required)

View Item
Report issue / request change

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340   general-enquiries@open.ac.uk