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 Elliot accomplished in the first edition of Concepts was remarkable. Here, a second time around, he does it still again – even better! No-one writing today has the range and depth of Elliott’s understanding of self-theory. He writes with confidence, clarity, and great care of all the prominent concepts of self. No-one I know can write so reliably of the classic theorists in the same concise book as of the newest queer and postmodern ones. No reader, whether student or scholar, will want to be without this brilliant book – a claim certified by the thousands of students who enjoyed the first edition.”

Charles Lemert, Wesleyan University

“This great little book contains everything you wished but did not dare to ask about the meaning of the ‘self’ – one of the thorniest, most contentious, exciting and enraging issues of our times and our lives in these times. To the questions you might have asked or are likely to ask yet, Elliott offers answers that are carefully weighted, balanced and realistic – drawing from the vast treasury of sociological insights and moving freely between the variety of complementary even if ostensibly adversary perspectives. Elliott’s book is good to read, to learn and to think with. It helps to understand what it means to ‘have a self’ and ‘to be oneself’ – an understanding that itself is a foremost condition of both.”

Zygmunt Bauman, Universities of Leeds and Warsaw

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Anthony Elliott is Professor of Sociology at Flinders University.

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Table of Contents

  • Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • The Arts of Self
  • Concepts of the Self
  • How the Self is Constructed and Changed
  • The Structure of the Book
  • 1 Self, Society and Everyday Life
  • Self, Symbols and Others: Symbolic Interactionism
  • Presentations of Self: Goffman
  • Reflexivity and the Self: Giddens
  • 2 The Repression of Self
  • Psychoanalysis and the Self
  • Culture and Repression
  • 3 Technologies of the Self
  • Technologies of the Self: Foucault
  • Governmentalities: New Technologies, New Selves
  • 4 Self, Sexuality and Gender
  • Feminism and Psychoanalysis: Two Recent Views
  • The Politics of Gender Performance: Butler
  • Queer Theory: Contesting Self, Defying Gender
  • 5 The Postmodern Self
  • All that is Modern Melts into Postmodern?
  • Strategies of the Self: Modern and Postmodern
  • Conclusion
  • Inner Depth, or Inside Out
  • Identity Politics, or Critique of Self
  • Index
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