Making our Way through the World

Human Reflexivity and Social Mobility

Making our Way through the World

How do we reflect upon ourselves and our concerns in relation to society, and vice versa? Human reflexivity works through 'internal conversations' using language, but also emotions, sensations and images. Most people acknowledge this 'inner-dialogue' and can report upon it. However, little research has been conducted on 'internal conversations' and how they mediate between our ultimate concerns and the social contexts we confront. In this 2007 book, Margaret Archer argues that reflexivity is progressively replacing routine action in late modernity, shaping how ordinary people make their way through the world. Using interviewees' life and work histories, she shows how 'internal conversations' guide the occupations people seek, keep or quit; their stances towards structural constraints and enablements; and their resulting patterns of social mobility.

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