Human reflexivity works through internal conversations and has a long history and a future of increasing importance for social institutions, citizenship and civil society. In the course of this article, Archer advances three propositions. Firstly, that different socio-historical periods are associated with the dominance of a particular mode of reflexivity (the pre-modern generating Communicative Reflexivity; modernity favouring Autonomous Reflexivity; and the nascent morphogenetic society encouraging Meta-reflexivity). These are generated from the contextual ‘continuity’, ‘discontinuity’ and ‘incongruity’ that respectively characterise the situations shaped for social subjects in the three periods. Secondly, she maintains that the predominance of different modes has entirely different (aggregate) macroscopic consequences for society. Thirdly, she will ventured that each dominant mode has a particular and differential impact upon the component institutions of civil society. The analysis also documents the connections between the modes of reflexivity practised and the proclivity or reluctance of their practitioners to engage in political involvement, participate in social movements and associations, albeit at the individual level.
Keywords: Reflexivity, Morphogenesis, Logic of Opportunities, Internal Conversation, Civil Society