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

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

Anthony Giddens

ISBN: 978-0-745-69835-9

Mar 2015, Polity

229 pages

Select type: E-Book



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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Acknowledgements vii

Introduction 1

1 The Contours of High Modernity 10

2 The Self: Ontological Security and Existential Anxiety 35

3 The Trajectory of the Self 70

4 Fate, Risk and Security 109

5 The Sequestration of Experience 144

6 Tribulations of the Self 181

7 The Emergence of Life Politics 209

Notes 232

Glossary of Concepts 242

Index 245

'In this book Anthony Giddens brings back in personality, the psyche, human nature itself. It is a pleasure and a real intellectual advance to have a social theorist of his stature revive the once central but long ignored study of personality and culture, character and society, especially a theorist with his very precise sense of what is truly modern in contemporary life.' Professor Dennis Wrong, New York University