Call for Papers: Critical Perspectives on Individualization

Special Section

LOST IN CONTEXT- subjects - scope- society

Section editors: Johanna Degen, P. Matthijs Bal & Andrea Kleeberg-Niepage

People in (post-)modern societies are increasingly being addressed as agentic individuals who are held responsible for personal aspects of their life and beyond. These personal aspects are in the form of the design and organization of one’s own path of life in terms of (lifelong) education, work and retirement planning, health care, work-life balance and even happiness, or with regard to more abstract concepts like sustainability, the future of the ecosystem or the planet - the liability is with the individual subject. This individualization of responsibility contains on the one hand a potential empowerment of the subject to actively shape one’s own life and its conditions, but on the other hand it ignores relevant socio-economic processes and power relations, which unfold as implicit and explicit social negotiations, positioning processes while creating potential pressure for the subject in the form of a compulsion to act and to optimize the self.

Such individualization of society has various implications for understanding of the individual subject and broader issues, such as collective solidarity and organizing in society. This has consequences for the subjects’ psyche, society and political spheres.

For this special section we encourage innovative contributions pushing the boundaries of norms and traditional research approaches in both topics and methods. We explicitly welcome interdisciplinary contributions and contributions from fields engaging traditional approaches.

Important dates:

December 22, 2020: Submission of abstracts (500-650 words) here:

January 25, 2021: Feedback on abstract

June 15, 2021: Submission of full paper

Contributions are promptly published online after final acceptance and afterwards in print.

When submitting, please specify the special section title.

For further inquiries about the section, please contact: