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Concepts of the Self, 3E

More than ten years on from its original publication, Concepts of the Self still mesmerizes with its insight, comprehensiveness and critique of debates over the self in the social sciences and humanities. Anthony Elliott has written a new preface to this third edition to address some of the most recent developments in the field, and offers a powerful challenge to what he describes as ?the emergence of anti-theories of the self?. The first two editions have proven exceptionally popular among students and teachers worldwide. Anthony Elliott provides a scintillating introduction to the major accounts of the self from symbolic interactionism and psychoanalysis to post-feminism and postmodernism. This new edition has been extensively revised and updated to take account of more recent theoretical developments, and a new chapter has been added on individualization which focuses on how the self becomes an agent of ?do-it-yourself? autobiographical reconstruction in an age of intensive globalization. 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 and humanities. Written by an author of international reputation, it connects debates about the self directly to identity politics, the sociology of personal relationships and intimacy, and the politics of sexuality, and will continue to be an invaluable introductory text for students in of social and political theory, sociology, social psychology, cultural studies, and gender studies.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix Introduction 1 The Arts of Self 7 Concepts of the Self 12 The Structure of the Book 24 1 Self, Society and Everyday Life 28 Self, Symbols and Others: Symbolic Interactionism 30 Presentations of Self: Goffman 37 Reflexivity and the Self: Giddens 44 2 The Repression of Self 53 Psychoanalysis and the Self 56 Culture and Repression 72 3 Technologies of the Self 85 Technologies of the Self: Foucault 88 Governmentality: New Technologies, New Selves 103 4 Self, Sexuality and Gender 112 Feminism and Psychoanalysis: Two Recent Views 112 The Politics of Gender Performance: Butler 124 Queer Theory: Contesting Self, Defying Gender 130 5 The Postmodern Self 138 All that is Modern Melts into Postmodern? 143 Strategies of the Self: Modern and Postmodern 153 6 The Individualized Self: From Reinvention to Mobile Lives 161 Individualization of the Self 163 Self-Reinvention: The New Individualism 170 The Mobile Self 176 Conclusion 182 Inner Depth, or Inside Out 182 Identity Politics, or Critique of Self 186 Afterword: Global Identities, the Rise of Anti-Self Theories and New Horizons 189 Index 195

About 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.


'What Anthony Elliott accomplished in the first edition of Concepts 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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