Situation and Human Existence: Freedom, Subjectivity and Society

Kruks, Sonia. Situation and Human Existence: Freedom, Subjectivity and Society. New York: Routledge, 1990.

From the publisher:

This series presents issues which are central to 20th-century European thought, but unfamiliar to students of Anglo-American philosophy. Each book focuses on one concept, providing a brief history and a detailed discussion of its current meaning, closely based on specific texts and authors. Social philosophy oscillates between two opposing ideas: that individuals fashion society, and that society fashions individuals. The concept of “situation” was elaborated by the French existentialist thinkers to avoid this dilemma. Individuals are seen as actively situating themselves in society at the same time as being situated by it. In “Situation and Human Existence”, Sonia Kruks traces the development of the concept of situation through the work of Gabriel Marcel, Jean-Paul Satre, Simone de Beauvoir and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. She shows how it illuminates questions of self or subjectivity, embodiment and gender, society and history, and argues that it goes far beyond the currently fashionable notions of the “death of the subject”. The book is written in a clear and accessible style, and will be of interest to all concerned with social philosophy, social and political theory, and contemporary thought.