experience for the student. An experience that addresses the practical, day to day
concerns of the student against the backdrop of larger, more pressing and more
fundamental concerns rooted in the ontological and ultimate realities of meaning and
One Hope
Before we get into specific definitions regarding subjectification and
emancipation we must understand that the attending concepts of freedom, equality, and
democracy intersect with a thorough understanding of these perspectives and
consequently must be woven into the discussion. Subjectification is the realization the
coming into, the becoming aware of one’s contributive uniqueness (as understood in the
context of irreplaceability) in and to the world (Biesta, 2010). Subjectification is when a
person becomes self-aware, fully cognizant, that she or he has arrived on the scene of the
world with something to offer and add to the world, something that was not there before.
The individual comes to see him/herself as irreplaceable, someone who has something
necessary and important to offer the world. Notwithstanding the appropriate Arendtian
concern of belatedness (Levinson, 2001), the notion that all of us are born into a world
that already is, a world that has already assigned how we will be positioned and
contextualized, the seeds of world change and renewal lie within us. Subjectification is
the moment those seeds of change and renewal bloom within the individual leading to the
reconfiguring of "social positioning…in a meaningful way" (Levinson, 2001, p. 26) At
this point the individual sees her/himself as adding something unique and indispensable
to the fabric of humanity.
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