Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age

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John Wiley & Sons, Apr 30, 2013 - Social Science - 264 pages
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This major study develops a new account of modernity and its relation to the self. Building upon the ideas set out in The Consequences of Modernity, Giddens argues that 'high' or 'late' modernity is a post traditional order characterised by a developed institutional reflexivity. In the current period, the globalising tendencies of modern institutions are accompanied by a transformation of day-to-day social life having profound implications for personal activities. The self becomes a 'reflexive project', sustained through a revisable narrative of self identity. The reflexive project of the self, the author seeks to show, is a form of control or mastery which parallels the overall orientation of modern institutions towards 'colonising the future'. Yet it also helps promote tendencies which place that orientation radically in question - and which provide the substance of a new political agenda for late modernity.

In this book Giddens concerns himself with themes he has often been accused of unduly neglecting, including especially the psychology of self and self-identity. The volumes are a decisive step in the development of his thinking, and will be essential reading for students and professionals in the areas of social and political theory, sociology, human geography and social psychology.

 

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It is not often that one regrets entirely buying a book on the basis of its title, but this is what happens after reading the first thirty pages of Modernity and Self Identity by famous author Anthony Giddens. Full of fatuous, inconsequential observations basic to common sense (let alone a textbook on sociology) very little is revealed of any particular insight. Some reviews contain statements like, "In the current period, the globalising tendencies of modern institutions are accompanied by a transformation of day-to-day social life having profound implications for personal activities. The self becomes a 'reflexive project'", but little mention is made of the namby-pamby existential anxieties of contemporary individuals, with too much money and not enough sense, struggling to find an identity within a mass consumer culture that seeks to manipulate these "reflexive" impressions at every step (whilst half the rest of the world struggles to satisfy basic requirements of survival.) Find some other authors before you buy! 

Contents

Acknowledgements
Ontological Security and Existential Anxiety
The Trajectory of the Self
Fate Risk and Security
The Sequestration of Experience
Tribulations of the Self
The Emergence of Life Politics
Notes
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Anthony Giddens is Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and also Professor of Sociology at the University of Cambridge.

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