"Autonomy" derives from the Greek autonomia, which combined the Greek words for "self" and "law". To be autonomous, then, is to be self-governing. When the Greeks used the word, according to POHLMANN, they were typically referring to a self-governing political unit, notably the citystate. He points out, however, that Sophocles also used the term in the Chorus's description of the character of Antigone (Antigone, line 821). The term is still used to characterize both persons and political units, although analyses of the concept now tend to focus on personal autonomy.
Copyright © 2001 From Reader's Guide to the Social Sciences by Jonathan Michie. Reproduced by permission of Taylor and Francis Group, LLC, a divison of Informa plc.
Copyright © 2001 Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. This article first appeared in Reader's Guide to the Social Sciences.
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Dagger, Richard. "Autonomy." In Reader's Guide to the Social Sciences, edited by Jonathan Michie, 96-97. Vol. 1. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2001.