Difference Between Autonomy and Independence

Key Difference – Autonomy vs Independence
 

Autonomy and Independence can be considered as synonymous on one level, although there is a difference between the two words on another level. The similarity between autonomy and independence comes with the idea of freedom. Both highlight the ability to make one’s decisions and choices. However, as mentioned above there is a difference as well. This difference between autonomy and independence can be understood as follows. Autonomy is the state of being self-governed. On the other hand, independence is the state of not being dependent on another. The concept of independence implies a rejection of rules and regulations but this is not the case in autonomy. This is the key difference between autonomy and independence.

What is Autonomy?

Autonomy is the state of being self-governed. The adjective of autonomy is autonomous. Autonomy highlights that the individual has the freedom to think and act freely. This can be understood through a small example. In the classroom setting, teachers encourage child autonomy. This refers to a condition where the child is encouraged to think, set goals and achieve them on their own. This can be used in the English language as follows.

The teacher encourages student autonomy within the classroom.

In counseling, it is often believed that client autonomy is a key principle to be respected.

In both examples, note how the role of power comes out through the sentence. Unlike in the case of independence, individuals have the power, rather than freedom, to make his own desicions.

The word autonomy is also used in the context of states or regions to highlight that they are self-governed. This explains that such countries experience a certain power to set their rules and regulations.

Difference Between Autonomy and Independence

It is important to promote child autonomy

What is Independence?

Independence is the state of not being dependent on another. The adjective of independence is independent. More than any other element, independence stresses this need to be free and not be influenced or dependent on others. Look at the following examples.

The people rejoiced at gaining their independence after so many years of suffering.

She has always been an independent woman.

In the examples presented above, the idea of independence highlights the freedom of the individual or group. Unlike in the case of autonomy, more focus is on the freedom to choose and live in whatever manner that pleases the individual without much attention to rules. Independent also highlights having enough money to support oneself.

Independent is also used as a noun to refer to a person who is independent or else to a person who votes with a freely without any affiliations.

Key Difference - Autonomy vs Independence

After the waves of decolonization, many states have now become independent

What is the difference between Autonomy and Independence?

Definitions of Autonomy and Independence:

Autonomy: Autonomy is the state of being self-governed.

Independence: Independence is the state of not being dependent on another.

Characteristics of Autonomy and Independence:

Adjective:

Autonomy: The adjective is autonomous.

Independence: The adjective is independent.

Focus:

Autonomy: The main focus is on individual power.

Independence: The main focus is on not being dependent or influenced.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. “Children marbles“. [CC BY 2.0] via Commons

2. Political world map By Ionut Cojocaru (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons