The concept of choice is a disputed but nonetheless important feature of human life. In light of the radical expansion of choice in contemporary Western, consumer culture, it is now, more than ever, critical to examine how one’s decisions are informed both by their context and by their potential effects. I propose that if we aspire to move toward the great social solidarity that the classical social theorists call for, we must put into practice a new concept to orient ourselves within this space of choices: a morality in which each individual views his own consequential subjectivity as the part of himself that he has in common with all other humans across space and time. I show that theory that seeks to explain any social phenomenon must acknowledge causal agency and incorporate the moral agency of the individual, who has the capacity to make seemingly non-rational choices, based on what is deemed to be significant to him. Such an endeavor necessitates an investigation of the processes through which the external world comes to have specific meaning and value for each individual. By first using Bourdieu’s work to locate individual agency in the challenges of everyday life and then arranging a marriage between the idealistic moral social theory of Bauman and the more functional theory of social solidarity that Alexander provides, I craft my own theory about how to progress toward a functional social solidarity.
Includes bibliographical references.