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Scattered Remarks on the Concept of Engagement: A Socio-Philosophical Approach

Susen, S. (2016). Scattered Remarks on the Concept of Engagement: A Socio-Philosophical Approach. Philosophy and Society, 27(2), pp. 459-463.


Reflecting on the concept of engagement constitutes a paradoxical task: it requires the person undertaking this contemplative endeavour to step back from, while engaging in and with, the very process of engagement. In a socio-philosophical sense, ‘engagement’ can be defined as a form of active, purposive, and meaning-laden involvement in the world in general or in specific aspects of the world in particular. Engagement is so fundamental to our everyday immersion in the world that even the aim of objectifying it is achievable only by realizing it. Put differently, the act of theorizing engagement presupposes the possibility of practising engagement. Any attempt to develop a theory of engagement is inconceivable without the practice of engaging in and with engagement. We cannot not engage in and with engagement because, as immersive beings, we can relate to the world only insofar as we engage in and with it. Instead of getting caught up in the self-referential exercise of providing tautological definitions, however, let us consider some of the main ways in which we are able to make sense of the socio-ontological significance of engagement by grappling with its multifaceted omnipresence in human life.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
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