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Social Theory and Practice

Volume 39, Issue 1, January 2013

Cassie Striblen
Pages 147-165
DOI: 10.5840/soctheorpract20133916

Collective Responsibility and the Narrative Self

This essay advocates applying a “narrative” conception of the individual self to the problem of “collective responsibility.” Participants in the debate agree that groups are composed of individuals and that group responsibility must somehow mimic individual responsibility. However, participants do not begin from a neutral and unproblematic conception of the individual. So far, most participants have assumed standard models of the individual that may unduly bias their conclusions about different forms of group responsibility. I argue that switching to a “narrative” conception may provide a more comprehensive and therefore preferable starting point for considering questions of group responsibility.

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