Concepts of the Self / Edition 2

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This new and updated edition of Concepts of the Self remains the most lively, lucid and compelling introduction to contemporary controversies over the self and self-identity in the social sciences. Written by an author of international reputation, the book concentrates mainly on the work of social theorists and cultural analysts who have attempted to place the self in relation to psychological processes, social contexts and historical perspectives. Mead, Freud, Goffman, Foucault, Chodorow, Kristeva and Baudrillard are among the figures covered; the new edition also introduces material on Zizek. Elliott also connects debates about the self directly to identity politics, the sociology of personal relationships and intimacy, and the politics of sexuality.

The book focuses upon cultural and political issues, and breaks new ground in integrating interdisciplinary perspectives. In analysing debates about the self, Elliott draws extensively on contemporary social and cultural theory. Among the traditions of thought discussed are symbolic interactionism, modern sociology, post-structuralist thought, feminist and queer theory, psychoanalysis, and postmodernism.

Elliott reviews core concepts of the self through an analysis of several connected themes: the complex relation between self and society, the importance of the interpreting self in social life, the reshaping of processes of self-formation and the changing character of identity politics. The new edition continues to break new ground by introducing compelling, contemporary material on the globalization of the self. Concepts of the Self is an accessible and invaluable introductory text for students in the areas of social and politicaltheory, sociology, social psychology, cultural studies and gender studies.

About the Author:
Anthony Elliott is Professor of Sociology at Flinders University, Australia

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'What Anthony Elliott accomplished in the first edition ofConcepts of the Self was remarkable. Here, a third timearound, he does it yet again – even better! No one writingtoday has the range and depth of Elliott's understanding of selftheory. He writes with confidence and clarity, and with great carefor all the prominent concepts of self. No one I know can write soreliably of the classic theorists in the same concise book as ofthe newest queer and postmodern ones. No reader, whether student orscholar, will want to be without this brilliant book – aclaim certified by the thousands of students who enjoyed the firsttwo editions.'
Charles Lemert, Yale University

'This great little book contains everything you wished but didnot dare to ask about the meaning of the "self" – one of thethorniest, most contentious, exciting and enraging issues of ourtimes and our lives in these times. To the questions you might haveasked or are likely to ask yet, Elliott offers answers that arecarefully weighted, balanced and realistic – drawing from thevast treasury of sociological insights and moving freely betweenthe variety of complementary, even if ostensibly adversarial,perspectives. Elliott's book is good to read, to learn from and tothink with. It helps to understand what it means to "have a self"and to "be oneself" – an understanding that itself is aforemost condition of both. This new edition makes sure that ourknowledge and understanding continue to be up to date.'
Zygmunt Bauman, University of Leeds

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Anthony Elliott is research professor of sociology and Director of the Hawke Research Institute at the University of South Australia, and a fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. He was a distinguished visiting professor at Wesleyan University from 2003 to 2007. His many books include On Society, Contemporary Social Theory and (with John Urry) Mobile Lives.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Concepts of the self 8
The structure of the book 18
1 Self, society and everyday life 22
Self, symbols and others: symbolic interactionism 24
Presentations of self: Goffman 31
Reflexivity and the self: Giddens 36
2 The repression of self 46
Psychoanalysis and the self 49
Culture and repression 66
3 Technologies of the self 78
Technologies of the self: Foucault 81
New Technologies, new selves 96
4 Self, sexuality and gender 103
Feminism and psychoanalysis: the recent views 103
The politics of gender performance: Butler 115
Queer theory: contesting self, defying gender 121
5 The postmodern self 129
All that is modern melts into postmodern? 134
Strategies of the self: modern and postmodern 144
Conclusion 152
Inner depth, or inside out 152
Identity politics, or critique of self 156
Index 160
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