On Stress and Subjectivity

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Abstract

This article offers a critical analysis of contemporary mainstream stress research, focusing particularly on the way subjectivity is conceptualized. The article shows in detail how researchers in areas from biology to sociology and psychology commonly split stress into two concepts, namely objective, environmental “stressors” and subjective responses. Simultaneously, most research also readily acknowledges that stressors are only stressors insofar as the individual perceives or appraises them to be so. At the heart of stress research today, this paper shows, is a situation wherein the binary between the “objective” stressor and the “subjective” response is dependent upon the very subjectivity that is parsed out and cast aside. This paper critically examines this divide and discusses some possible ways forward for exploring subjectivity vis-à-vis contemporary stress research, arguing for the need for entangled and critical interdisciplinary explorations of subjectivity and stress.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTheory & Psychology
Volume31
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)254-272
Number of pages19
ISSN0959-3543
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • interdisciplinarity
  • objectivity
  • stress research
  • stressors
  • subjectivity

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