We must not isolate ourselves: the Franco-Israeli sociologist and author Eva Illouz.
Image: Corinna Kern/Laif
Do we still have to defend individualism in a culture that puts the subject above everything else? Sociologist Eva Illouz on the idea of a society made up entirely of individuals.
Ms. Illouz, you spoke in Bonn about the limits of the self. Your topic is “in” again.
It was about the subject. It has been the subject of philosophical deconstruction and criticism for decades, hence the question: what do we do with the subject now? Whether psychoanalysis, structuralism or Marxist sociology, all these disciplines demanded to stop speaking naively about the “I” and to let go of the belief in the authority of the speaking, acting subject, which depends on its economic environment, on unconscious, early psychological processes be. So on the one hand we have a philosophy that has been questioning the subject for a long time. And on the other hand, a culture that constantly and obsessively reinforces the subject, in which we are told what we need to change because we alone can be responsible for our happiness. A society for which the subject is everything.