Everyone Is NOT Doing It: Abstinence and Personal Identity / Edition 1

Everyone Is NOT Doing It: Abstinence and Personal Identity / Edition 1

by Jamie L. Mullaney
Pub. Date:
University of Chicago Press
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Everyone Is NOT Doing It: Abstinence and Personal Identity / Edition 1

Labels like vegan, virgin, or nonsmoker get thrown around to identify forms of abstinence, but for many abstainers such labels are also proud declarations of who they are. Setting aside the moral debates and psychological assessments surrounding abstinence, Jamie L. Mullaney here asks why it is that the act of not doing something plays such a crucial role in the formation of our personal identities. 

Based on interviews with individuals who abstain from habits as diverse as sex, cigarettes, sugar, and technology, Everyone Is NOT Doing It identifies four different types of abstainers: quitters; those who have never done something and never will; those who haven't done something yet, but might in the future; and those who are not doing something temporarily. Mullaney assesses the commonalities that bind abstainers, as well as how perceptions of abstinence change according to social context, age, and historical era. In contrast to such earlier forms of abstinence as social protest, entertainment, or an instrument of social stratification, not doing something now gives people a more secure sense of self by offering a more affordable and manageable identity in a world of ever-expanding options.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226547572
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 12/15/2005
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Part I: The Social Shape of Abstinence
One / Seeing Not-Doing: Time, Place, and Language
Two / Historical Frames of Abstinence
Three / Contemporary Abstainers
Four / "You Gotta Run the Whole Tape": Pathways to Abstinence
Part II: Doing Not-Doing
Five / Determining What Counts: Abstinence Thresholds
Six / Fire Walking
Seven / Fence Building
Eight / Negotiating Abstinence Strategies
Nine / Verbal Performances of Abstinence

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