The Interdependence of Intra- and Inter-Subjectivity in Constructivist Institutionalism, Colin Hay (Sciences Po, France)

In Critical Review, September 2017, vol 29, n° 2

Oscar Larsson’s sympathetic critique of constructivist institutionalism calls for a clarification of my understanding of subjectivity, inter-subjectivity, and their mutual interdependence. That interdependence lies at the heart of any genuinely constructivist approach, just as the interdependence of structure and agency lies at the heart of any genuinely institutionalist approach. As such, I reject the charge of subjectivism just as I would that of voluntarism. Building on the social ontology of Berger and Luckmann, we can distinguish between subjectivity and intra-subjectivity and proceed to show how the latter implies a notion of inter-subjectivity. An example of the social construction of a political crisis shows that social facts are made and remade through a fusion of inter- and intra-subjectivities.

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