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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 39, Issue 1, January 2013

Suzy Killmister
Pages 95-119
DOI: 10.5840/soctheorpract20133914

Autonomy and the Problem of Socialization

One of the more intractable problems in the debate over autonomy is how we should distinguish autonomy-enhancing from autonomy-compromising forms of socialization. In this paper I first survey a range of theories of autonomy, from the procedural through to the substantive, and argue that none offers sufficient resources to resolve the problem of socialization. In the second half of the paper I develop an alternative theory that can both differentiate benign from pernicious socialization and, more importantly, provide an explanation for the means by which pernicious socialization compromises autonomy.

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