Experiences of African American empowerment: a Jamesian perspective on agency

Journal of Moral Education 32 (4):397-409 (2003)
This essay draws from the work of William James and three African American pragmatists, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ralph Ellison and Cornel West, to explore the moral relevance of the self as an empowered agent among African American youth. The focus is on Jamesian agency as a function of the individual's awareness of options in context, the self-empowerment that allows one to access those options, and the resulting behaviour that actualises perceived potentials. Case examples clarify how the awareness of self as an active and choice-making agent normally has moral primacy for African Americans. These examples draw on both justice and care perspectives to clarify the possibilities of human development and social change through highly developed human agency
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DOI 10.1080/0305724032000161295
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