Since a new sensitivity and orientation to victims of injustice arose in the 1960s, categories of victimization have proliferated. Large numbers of people are now characterized and characterize themselves as sufferers of psychological injury caused by the actions of others. In contrast with the familiar critiques of victim culture, Accounts of Innocence offers a new and empirically rich perspective on the question of why we now place such psychological significance on victimization in people's lives.
Focusing on the case of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, Joseph E. Davis shows how the idea of innocence shaped the emergence of trauma psychology and continues to inform accounts of the past (and hopes for the future) in therapy with survivor clients. His findings shed new light on the ongoing debate over recovered memories of abuse. They challenge the notion that victim accounts are an evasion of personal responsibility. And they suggest important ways in which trauma psychology has had unintended and negative consequences for how victims see themselves and for how others relate to them.
An important intervention in the study of victimization in our culture, Accounts of Innocence will interest scholars of clinical psychology, social work, and sociology, as well as therapists and victim activists.
Advertising the Self in Renaissance France is a study of how authors and readers are represented in printed editions of three major literary figures of the French Renaissance: Jean Lemaire de Belges, Clément Marot, and François Rabelais. Print culture is marked by an anxiety of reception that became much more pronounced with increasingly anonymous and unpredictable readerships in the sixteenth century. To allay this anxiety, authors, as well as editors and printers, turned to self-fashioning in order to sell not only their books, but also particular ways of reading. They advertised correct modes of reading as transformative experiences that helped the actual reader attain the image of the ideal reader held up by the text and paratext, experiences provided by selfless authors. Thus, authorial personae were constructed around the self-fashioning offered to readers, creating an interdependent relationship that anticipated modern advertising.
Published by University of Delaware Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
In this fascinating and inventive work, A. David Napier argues that the central assumption of immunology—that we survive through the recognition and elimination of non-self—has become a defining concept of the modern age. Tracing this immunological understanding of self and other through an incredibly diverse array of venues, from medical research to legal and military strategies and the electronic revolution, Napier shows how this defensive way of looking at the world not only destroys diversity but also eliminates the possibility of truly engaging difference, thereby impoverishing our culture and foreclosing tremendous opportunities for personal growth.
To illustrate these destructive consequences, Napier likens the current craze for embracing diversity and the use of politically correct speech to a cultural potluck to which we each bring different dishes, but at which no one can eat unless they abide by the same rules. Similarly, loaning money to developing nations serves as a tool both to make the peoples in those nations more like us and to maintain them in the nonthreatening status of distant dependents. To break free of the resulting downward spiral of homogenization and self-focus, Napier suggests that we instead adopt a new defining concept based on embryology, in which development and self-growth take place through a process of incorporation and transformation. In this effort he suggests that we have much to learn from non-Western peoples, such as the Balinese, whose ritual practices require them to take on the considerable risk of injecting into their selves the potential dangers of otherness—and in so doing ultimately strengthen themselves as well as their society.
The Age of Immunology, with its combination of philosophy, history, and cultural inquiry, will be seen as a manifesto for a new age and a new way of thinking about the world and our place in it.
“John Shields's book is a provocative challenge to the venerable Adamic myth so exhaustively deployed in examinations of early American literature and in American studies. Moreover, The American Aeneas builds wonderfully on Shields's considerable work on Phillis Wheatley. “?—American Literature??
“The American Aeneas should be of interest to classicists and American studies scholars alike.” ?—The New England Quarterly??
John Shields exposes a significant cultural blindness within American consciousness. Noting the biblical character Adam as an archetype who has long dominated ideas of what it means to be American, Shields argues that an equally important component of our nation’s cultural identity—a secular one deriving from the classical tradition—has been seriously neglected.??Shields shows how Adam and Aeneas—Vergil’s hero of the Aeneid— in crossing over to American from Europe, dynamically intermingled in the thought of the earliest American writers. Shields argues that uncovering and acknowledging the classical roots of our culture can allay the American fear of “pastlessness” that the long-standing emphasis on the Adamic myth has generated.
John C. Shields is the editor of The Collected Works of Phillis Wheatley and the author of The American Aeneas: Classical Origins of the American Self, which won a Choice Outstanding Academic Book award and an honorable mention in the Harry Levin Prize competition, sponsored by the American Comparative Literature Association.
Psychoanalyst, teacher, and scholar, Heinz Kohut was one of the twentieth century's most important intellectuals. A rebel according to many mainstream psychoanalysts, Kohut challenged Freudian orthodoxy and the medical control of psychoanalysis in America. In his highly influential book The Analysis of the Self, Kohut established the industry standard of the treatment of personality disorders for a generation of analysts. This volume, best known for its groundbreaking analysis of narcissism, is essential reading for scholars and practitioners seeking to understand human personality in its many incarnations.
“Kohut has done for narcissism what the novelist Charles Dickens did for poverty in the nineteenth century. Everyone always knew that both existed and were a problem. . . . The undoubted originality is to have put it together in a form which carries appeal to action.”—International Journal of Psychoanalysis
The eighteenth century saw the creation of a number of remarkable mechanical androids: at least ten prominent automata were built between 1735 and 1810 by clockmakers, court mechanics, and other artisans from France, Switzerland, Austria, and the German lands. Designed to perform sophisticated activities such as writing, drawing, or music making, these “Enlightenment automata” have attracted continuous critical attention from the time they were made to the present, often as harbingers of the modern industrial age, an era during which human bodies and souls supposedly became mechanized.
In Androids in the Enlightenment, Adelheid Voskuhl investigates two such automata—both depicting piano-playing women. These automata not only play music, but also move their heads, eyes, and torsos to mimic a sentimental body technique of the eighteenth century: musicians were expected to generate sentiments in themselves while playing, then communicate them to the audience through bodily motions. Voskuhl argues, contrary to much of the subsequent scholarly conversation, that these automata were unique masterpieces that illustrated the sentimental culture of a civil society rather than expressions of anxiety about the mechanization of humans by industrial technology. She demonstrates that only in a later age of industrial factory production did mechanical androids instill the fear that modern selves and societies had become indistinguishable from machines.
Gerald Erchak's engaging book stakes out a position in the field of psychological anthropology. He addresses himself primarily to students in the field, and also to specialists who want a clearly presented approach. He argues that culture shapes the human self and behavior, and that the self and behavior are in turn adapted to culture. After defining basic concepts and debates in the field, Erchak takes up the topics of socialization, gender, sexuality, collective behavior, national character, deviance, behavioral disorder, cognition, and emotion (This new textbook contains more material about sexuality and gender than any other such text). For Erhcak, psychocultural adaptation is basic to human life. Culture plays a central role in our behavior and survival.
Each chapter reviews the literature, not as a scholar would, but rather to provide an overview of central issues in the field. Each chapter also provides case material, some of which is drawn from Erchak's own work on West African socialization, Micronesian social change, family violence, initiation rites, and alcoholism. His examples are drawn from the U.S. as well as non-Western cultures. This book will be of particular interest to teachers looking for new texts for undergraduate courses in anthropology, psychology, and sociology.
Archetypal Process is a pioneering study linking the ideas of process philosophy, as developed by Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne, with the archetypal psychology of C. G. Jung and James Hillman. This is the first work to examine the interconnections of these two modes of thought.
Archetypal Process examines the importance of cosmological thinking and the need to ground archetypal psychology in a metaphysical, philosophical framework. It treats the necessity for symbol and myth, the nature of the spirit, and language as a metaphorical vehicle of thought, and finally, it adds a much-needed feminist perspective to the debate.
Justin Weir develops a persuasive analysis of the complex relationship between authorial self-reflection and literary tradition in three of the most famous Russian novels of the first half of the twentieth century: Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, and Nabokov's The Gift. With Weir's innovative interpretation, and its compelling historical, cultural, and theoretical insights, The Author as Hero offers a new view of an important moment in the evolution of Russian literature.
In her forceful social history, Bullying, Laura Martocci explores the “bully culture” that has claimed national attention since the late 1990s.
Moving beyond the identification of aggressive behaviors to an analysis of how and why we have arrived at a culture that thrives on humiliation, she critiques the social forces that gave rise to, and help maintain, bullying. Martocci’s analysis of gossip, laughter, stereotyping, and competition—dynamics that foment bullying and prompt responses of shame, violence, and depression—is positioned within a larger social narrative: the means by which we negotiate damaged social bonds and the role that bystanders play in the possibility of atonement, forgiveness, and redemption.
Martocci’s fresh perspective on bullying positions shame as pivotal. She urges us to acknowledge the pain and confusion caused by social disgrace; to understand its social, psychological, and neurological nature; and to address it through narratives of loss, grief, and redemption—cultural supports that are already in place.
In the same week that his father died, Alex came home to find his live-in fiancée in bed with another man. Paul is a divorced single parent who was recently forced to go on disability. Liz left an abusive husband and then found herself involved with yet another controlling man. These three, along with many others, have found a kind of salvation in Codependents Anonymous. Is this self-indulgent psychobabble or legitimate therapy? Are Twelve Step groups helpful communities or disguised addictions? And what exactly is codependency, the psychological condition that has apparently swept the United States? Leslie Irvine went inside "CoDA" to find out.
Codependent Forevermore is thus an insider's look at the world of people "in recovery" and the society that produced them. Through extensive interviews with CoDA members, case studies, and the meetings she attended regularly, Irvine develops a galvanizing perspective on contemporary Americans' sense of self. She explores the idea that selfhood is a narrative accomplishment, achieved by people telling stories to themselves and about themselves. She shows how Alex, Paul, Liz, and many others create a sense of self by combining elements of autobiography, culture, and social structure all within the adopted language of psycho-spirituality.
By following the progress and tribulations of CoDA members, Irvine gets to the heart of widespread American conceptions of relationships, selfhood, and community. Amidst the increasingly shrill criticism of the Twelve Step ethos, her reasoned and considered analysis of these groups reveals the sources of both their power and their popularity.
The Baniwa Indians of the Northwest Amazon have engaged in millenarian movements since at least the middle of the nineteenth century. The defining characteristic of these movements is usually a prophecy of the end of this present world and the restoration of the primordial, utopian world of creation. This prophetic message, delivered by powerful shamans, has its roots in Baniwa myths of origin and creation. In this ethnography of Baniwa religion, Robin M. Wright explores the myths of creation and how they have been embodied in religious movements and social action—particularly in a widespread conversion to evangelical Christianity. He opens with a discussion of cosmogony, cosmology, and shamanism and then goes on to explain how Baniwa origin myths have played an active role in shaping both personal and community identity and history. He also explores the concepts of death and eschatology and shows how the mythology of destruction and renewal in Baniwa religion has made the Baniwa people receptive to both Catholic and Protestant missionaries.
Combining his skills as both a professional reviewer of theatre and a literary critic, Robert J. Andreach finds himself in a unique position to provide coherence to what most observers perceive as an unrelated welter of contemporary theatrical experiences. Exploring the theatre from the 1960s to the present, he shows the various ways in which the contemporary American theatre creates a personal, theatrical, and national self.
Andreach argues that the contemporary American theatre creates multiple selves that reflect and give voice to the many communities within our multicultural society. These selves are fragmented and enclaved, however, which makes necessary a counter movement that seeks, through interaction among the various parts, to heal the divisions within, between, and among them.
In his examination of the contemporary theatre, Andreach demonstrates that the plays and the performance art of the feminist, African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American, and Native American theatres are equal to the works created within the dominant Eurocentric culture.
He then turns to comparable works created within the culture of what performance artist Karen Finley calls the "one male god," works that reflect the breakup of an old order. He discusses the experimental theatre, which turns to the imagination to reveal the nature of the self, and concludes with an examination of recent American works, pointing out in each either the presence or absence of resolution within the divisions of self.
Despite an uncertain economy, the market for green building is exploding. The US green building market has expanded dramatically since 2008 and is projected to double in size by 2015 (from $42 billion in construction starts to $135 billion). But green-building pioneer Sim Van der Ryn says, “greening” our buildings is not enough. He advocates for “empathic design”, in which a designer not only works in concert with nature, but with an understanding of and empathy for the end user and for ones self. It is not just one of these connections, but all three that are necessary to design for a future that is more humane, equitable, and resilient.
Sim’s lifelong focus has been in shifting the paradigm in architecture and design. Instead of thinking about design primarily in relation to the infrastructure we live in and with—everything from buildings to wireless routing—he advocates for a focus on the people who use and are affected by this infrastructure. Basic design must include a real understanding of human ecology or end-user preferences. Understanding ones motivations and spirituality, Sim believes, is critical to designing with empathy for natural and human communities.
In Design for an Empathic World Van der Ryn shares his thoughts and experience about the design of our world today. With a focus on the strengths and weaknesses in our approach to the design of our communities, regions, and buildings he looks at promising trends and projects that demonstrate how we can help create a better world for others and ourselves. Architects, urban designers, and students of architecture will all enjoy this beautifully illustrated book drawing on a rich and revered career of a noted leader in their field. The journey described in Design for an Empathic World will help to inspire change and foster the collaboration and thoughtfulness necessary to achieve a more empathic future.
Dilemmas Of American Self
John P. Hewitt Temple University Press, 1991 Library of Congress HM251.H493 1989 | Dewey Decimal 302
Charles Horton Cooley Award of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, 1990
"According to Hewitt, the essence of modernity is tension between community and society. This ambitious, sophisticated, and well-written book is a tonic for those who weary of simplistic sermons on the condition of American culture."
This book explores stability and change in American social character and identity, and offers a theory about what it means to be an individual within contemporary American society. Skeptical of the widely-accepted thesis that the self, at least in America, has drastically changed, John P. Hewitt assumes that there is more historical continuity and that the culture is filled with internal contradictions. Combining the insights of social psychology, with those of writers who have offered critiques of the larger society and its influences on the individual, he revises our understanding of the person in American society.
Hewitt examines the theories of such authors as David Riesman, Allen Wheelis, Christopher Lasch, Erving Goffman, Carl Rogers, Ralph Turner, and others. He treats their emphasis on the decline of transformation of the self not as social theory to be tested, but as cultural text that reveals some of the main historical and contemporary features and fault lines of American culture.
"American culture is best characterized not as relentlessly individualistic or as lacking in the capacity to conceive of or discuss community, but as torn between individualism and communitarianism, thus creating serious felt difficulties of social adjustment and personal meaning." Proposing a symbolic interactionist theory of culture, Hewitt emphasizes inherent polarities of meaning and dilemmas of conduct that shape the experience of self: conformity versus rebellion, staying versus leaving, and dependence versus independence. He constructs a theory of identity that views personal identity and social identity as contending means for securing the continuity and integration of the self, and applies the theory to American society by depicting autonomous, exclusivist, and pragmatic strategies of self-construction.
"This theoretically sophisticated work is very ably organized and marked by superior scholarly and expository craftsmanship. It will be hailed, I believe, as an important contribution to symbolic interactionism and the sociology and social psychology of everyday life. Hewitt's treatment of self, identity, conformity, differentiation, community, and modernity is a fine example of creative scholarship."
--Charles H. Page, University of Massachusetts (Emeritus)
"Hewitt has set himself the ambitious task of providing a symbolic interactionist analysis of culture, society, and self, and has succeeded admirably in the effort. I found his rich description of cultural types to be especially insightful. It is no exaggeration to characterize this book as a landmark work in the development of symbolic interactions."
--Morris Rosenberg, University of Maryland-College Park
Dostoevsky was hostile to the notion of individual autonomy, and yet, throughout his life and work, he vigorously advocated the freedom and inviolability of the self. This ambivalence has animated his diverse and often self-contradictory legacy: as precursor of psychoanalysis, forefather of existentialism, postmodernist avant la lettre, religious traditionalist, and Romantic mystic.
Dostoevsky and the Riddle of the Self charts a unifying path through Dostoevsky's artistic journey to solve the “mystery” of the human being. Starting from the unusual forms of intimacy shown by characters seeking to lose themselves within larger collective selves, Yuri Corrigan approaches the fictional works as a continuous experimental canvas on which Dostoevsky explored the problem of selfhood through recurring symbolic and narrative paradigms. Presenting new readings of such works as The Idiot, Demons,and The Brothers Karamazov, Corrigan tells the story of Dostoevsky’s career-long journey to overcome the pathology of collectivism by discovering a passage into the wounded, embattled, forbidding, revelatory landscape of the psyche.
Corrigan’s argument offers a fundamental shift in theories about Dostoevsky's work and will be of great interest to scholars of Russian literature, as well as to readers interested in the prehistory of psychoanalysis and trauma studies and in theories of selfhood and their cultural sources.
Although it is sometimes said that Martin Heidegger’s later philosophy no longer concerned itself with the theme of authenticity so crucial to Being and Time (1927), this book argues that his interest in authenticity was always strong.
After leaving the seminary to become a philosophy student, Heidegger began to “de–mythologize” religious themes for his own philosophical purposes. Like the Christian notion of faith, Heidegger’s notion of authenticity involves relinquishing the egotistical self–understanding which blocks our openness for possibilities. Yet authenticity as “resoluteness” includes an element of voluntarism foreign to the idea of faith. Heidegger’s brief engagement with National Socialism (1933–1934) helped him to re–think the Nietzschean concept of will which had influenced his early views on authenticity. Although part of the meaning of resoluteness is to allow things to be revealed, it also suggests that an individual can somehow will to be authentic. After about 1936, Heidegger emphasized that an individual can only be released from egoism (inauthenticity) by a power which transcends him. The abiding theological issue concerning the efficacy of works as against the saving power of grace finds expression in the distinction between resoluteness and releasement.
Combining anthropological methods and theories with political philosophy, Sian Lazar analyzes everyday practices and experiences of citizenship in a satellite city to the Bolivian capital of La Paz: El Alto, where more than three-quarters of the population identify as indigenous Aymara. For several years, El Alto has been at the heart of resistance to neoliberal market reforms, such as the export of natural resources and the privatization of public water systems. In October 2003, protests centered in El Alto forced the Bolivian president to resign; in December 2005, the country’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, was elected. The growth of a strong social justice movement in Bolivia has caught the imagination of scholars and political activists worldwide. El Alto remains crucial to this ongoing process. In El Alto, Rebel City Lazar examines the values, practices, and conflicts behind the astonishing political power exercised by El Alto citizens in the twenty-first century.
Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 1997 and 2004, Lazar contends that in El Alto, citizenship is a set of practices defined by one’s participation in a range of associations, many of them collectivist in nature. Her argument challenges Western liberal notions of the citizen by suggesting that citizenship is not only individual and national but in many ways communitarian and distinctly local, constituted through different kinds of affiliations. Since in El Alto these affiliations most often emerge through people’s place of residence and their occupational ties, Lazar offers in-depth analyses of neighborhood associations and trade unions. In so doing, she describes how the city’s various collectivities mediate between the state and the individual. Collective organization in El Alto and the concept of citizenship underlying it are worthy of attention; they are the basis of the city’s formidable power to mobilize popular protest.
The Existential Self in Society
Edited by Joseph A. Kotarba and Andrea Fontana University of Chicago Press, 1984 Library of Congress HM24.E86 1984 | Dewey Decimal 301
The Existential Self in Society explores the ways in which we experience and shape our individuality in a rapidly changing social world. Kotarba and Fontana have gathered eleven original essays that form an exciting contribution and an ideal introduction to the emerging field of existential sociology.
Much recent critical theory has dismissed or failed to take seriously the question of the self. French theorists—such as Derrida, Barthes, Benveniste, Foucault, Lacan, and Lévi-Strauss—have in various ways proclaimed the death of the subject, often turning to German intellectual tradition to authorize their views. Stanley Corngold’s heralded book, The Fate of the Self, published for the first time in paperback with a spirited new preface, appears at a time when the relationship between the self and literature is a matter of renewed concern. Originally published in 1986 (Columbia University Press), the book examines the poetic self of German intellectual tradition in light of recent French and American critical theory. Focusing on seven major German writers—Hölderlin, Dilthey, Nietzsche, Mann, Kafka, Freud, and Heidegger—Corngold shows that their work does not support the desire to discredit the self as an origin of meaning and value but reconstructs the allegedly fragmented poetic self through effects of position and style. Offering new and subtle models of selfhood, The Fate of the Self is a source of rich insight into the work of these authors, refracted through poststructuralist critical perspectives.
Feminism and the Final Foucault
Edited by Dianna Taylor and Karen Vintges University of Illinois Press, 2004 Library of Congress HQ1190.F4176 2004 | Dewey Decimal 305.4201
Feminism and the Final Foucault is the first systematic offering of contemporary, international feminist perspectives on the later work of philosopher Michel Foucault.
Rather than simply debating the merits or limitations of Foucault's later work, the essays in this collection examine women's historical self-practices, conceive of feminism as a shared ethos, and consider the political significance of this conceptualization in order to elucidate, experiment with, and put into practice the conceptual "tools" that Foucault offers for feminist ethics and politics. The volume illustrates the ways in which Foucault's later thinking on ethics as "care of the self" can reintroduce a number of issues and themes that feminists jettisoned in the wake of postmodernism, including consciousness raising, feminist therapy, the subject woman, identity politics, and feminist agency.
Taken as a whole, the diversity of feminist viewpoints presented provide important new insights into "the final Foucault," and thus serve as a productive intervention in current Foucault scholarship.
Winner of the 2015 Anne Friedberg Innovative Scholarship Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Finding Augusta breaks new ground, revising how media studies interpret the relationship between our bodies and technology. This is a challenging exploration of how, for both good and ill, the sudden ubiquity of mobile devices, GPS systems, haptic technologies, and other forms of media alter individuals’ experience of their bodies and shape the social collective. The author succeeds in problematizing the most salient fact of contemporary mobile media technologies, namely, that they have become, like highways and plumbing, an infrastructure that regulates habit. Audacious in its originality, Finding Augusta will be of great interest to art and media scholars alike.
Through a systematic comparison of the life circumstances, child-rearing practices, and personalities of the FulBe and their former slaves, the RiimaayBe, this book develops an alternative theory of the way personality is formed in the Fulani society of West Africa. Riesman discusses the different characters, economies, and life plans of adult men and women of both groups, focusing on their ideas about the value of relatives. He further presents detailed observations of child-rearing practices, and concludes that the FulBe and RiimaayBe do not differ in these practices. Contrasting Fulani and Western notions of parenting, he suggests that child-rearing practices are themselves irrelevant to the formation of adult personality, but that a people's ideas about the meaning of life, social relations, and the development of character are very important. Finally, Riesman outlines a sociocultural theory of personality and its formation, and uses this theory to make sense of the differences between FulBe and RiimaayBe.
As the subject of ideological, aesthetic, and existential manipulations, the Polish home and its representation is an ever-changing phenomenon that absorbs new tendencies and, at the same time, retains its centrality to Polish literature, whether written in Poland or abroad. Framing the Polish Home is a pioneering work that explores the idea of home as fundamental to the question of cultural and national identity within Poland's recent history and its tradition.
In this inaugural volume of the Polish and Polish-American Studies Series, the Polish home emerges in its rich verbal and visual representations and multiple material embodiments, as the discussion moves from the loss of the home during wartime to the Sovietized politics of housing and from the exilic strategies of having a home to the the idyllic evocation of the abodes of the past.
Although, as Bożena Shallcross notes in her introduction, “few concepts seem to have such universal appeal as the notion of the home,” this area of study is still seriously underdeveloped. In essays from sixteen scholars, Framing the Polish Home takes a significant step to correct that oversight, covering a broad range of issues pertinent to the discourse on the home and demonstrating the complexity of the home in Polish literature and culture.
Kathy Charmaz has written a compelling book on chronic illness and the effect it has on the self-concepts of those who suffer. It will appeal to anyone facing a long-term problem that seems beyond control. Her work is based on interviews with people suffering from such diseases as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis, and with their caregivers. Charmaz looks at how these people disclose their illness, how they experience their emotions, and how they manage daily life.
Illness provides a mirror that allows sufferers to see themselves and to become more introspective. As they struggle for control over illness and control over time, they also struggle to control the central images of the self. For example, the chronically ill may situate their self-concepts in the past, present, or future. Charmaz examines under what conditions they situate their self-concepts in each of those timeframes. People may say they live one day at a time. They may bracket certain experiences, such as a heart attack, as timemarkers or turning points in the past. Or they may look ahead to recovering their health. Or ahead to death.
Charmaz artfully combines near jargon-free analysis with moving stories about how people have experienced illness, usually told in the sufferers' own words. She enters the world of the chronically ill, and brings us into it.
A. A. Long’s study of Greek notions of mind and human selfhood is anchored in questions of universal interest. What happens to us when we die? How is the mind or soul related to the body? Are we responsible for our own happiness? Can we achieve autonomy? Long shows that Greek thinkers’ modeling of the mind gave us metaphors that we still live by.
How Does Analysis Cure?
Heinz Kohut University of Chicago Press, 1984 Library of Congress BF697.K64 1984 | Dewey Decimal 616.8917
The Austro-American psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut was one of the foremost leaders in his field and developed the school of self-psychology, which sets aside the Freudian explanations for behavior and looks instead at self/object relationships and empathy in order to shed light on human behavior. In How Does Analysis Cure? Kohut presents the theoretical framework for self-psychology, and carefully lays out how the self develops over the course of time. Kohut also specifically defines healthy and unhealthy cases of Oedipal complexes and narcissism, while investigating the nature of analysis itself as treatment for pathologies. This in-depth examination of “the talking cure” explores the lesser studied phenomena of psychoanalysis, including when it is beneficial for analyses to be left unfinished, and the changing definition of “normal.”
An important work for working psychoanalysts, this book is important not only for psychologists, but also for anyone interested in the complex inner workings of the human psyche.
When we think of human rights we assume that they are meant to protect people from serious social, legal, and political abuses and to advance global justice. In Human Rights and the Care of the Self Alexandre Lefebvre turns this assumption on its head, showing how the value of human rights also lies in enabling ethical practices of self-transformation. Drawing on Foucault's notion of "care of the self," Lefebvre turns to some of the most celebrated authors and activists in the history of human rights–such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Henri Bergson, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Charles Malik–to discover a vision of human rights as a tool for individuals to work on, improve, and transform themselves for their own sake. This new perspective allows us to appreciate a crucial dimension of human rights, one that can help us to care for ourselves in light of pressing social and psychological problems, such as loneliness, fear, hatred, patriarchy, meaninglessness, boredom, and indignity.
In 1726, an illiterate woman from Surrey named Mary Toft announced that she had given birth to seventeen rabbits. Deceiving respected physicians and citizens alike, she created a hoax that held England spellbound for months. In Imagining Monsters, Dennis Todd tells the story of this bizarre incident and shows how it illuminates eighteenth-century beliefs about the power of imagination and the problems of personal identity.
Mary Toft's outrageous claim was accepted because of a common belief that the imagination of a pregnant woman could deform her fetus, creating a monster within her. Drawing on largely unexamined material from medicine, embryology, philosophy, and popular "monster" exhibitions, Todd shows that such ideas about monstrous births expressed a fear central to scientific, literary, and philosophical thinking: that the imagination could transgress the barrier between mind and body.
In his analysis of the Toft case, Todd exposes deep anxieties about the threat this transgressive imagination posed to the idea of the self as stable, coherent, and autonomous. Major works of Pope and Swift reveal that they, too, were concerned with these issues, and Imagining Monsters provides detailed discussions of Gulliver's Travels and The Dunciad illustrating how these writers used images of monstrosity to explore the problematic nature of human identity. It also includes a provocative analysis of Pope's later work that takes into account his physical deformity and his need to defend himself in a society that linked a deformed body with a deformed character.
Thomas W. Colley served in one of the most active and famous units in the Civil War, the 1st Virginia Cavalry, which fought in battles in the Eastern Theater, from First Manassas/Bull Run to the defense of Petersburg. Colley was born November 11, 1837, outside Abingdon, Virginia, and grew up knowing the daily demands of life on a farm. In May 1861, along with the other members of the Washington Mounted Rifles, he left his home in Washington County and reported to camp in Richmond. During the war, Colley received wounds on three different occasions: first at Waterloo Bridge in 1862, again at Kelly’s Ford in 1863, and finally at Haw’s Shop in 1864. The engagement at Haw’s Shop resulted in the amputation of his left foot, thereby ending his wartime service.
The first modern scholarly edition of Colley’s writings, In Memory of Self and Comrades dramatizes Colley’s fate as a wounded soldier mustered out before the war’s conclusion. Colley’s postwar reflections on the war reveal his struggle to earn a living and maintain his integrity while remaining somewhat unreconciled to his condition. He found much of his solace through writing and sought to advance his education after the war. As one of an estimated 20,000 soldiers who underwent amputation during the Civil War, his memoirs reveal the challenges of living with what many might recognize today as post-traumatic stress disorder. Annotations from editor Michael K. Shaffer provide further context to Colley’s colorful and insightful writings on both his own condition and the condition of other veterans also dealing with amputations
Inner speech, also known as self-talk, is distinct from ordinary language. It has several functions and structures, from everyday thinking and self-regulation to stream of consciousness and daydreaming. Inner Speech and the Dialogical Self provides a comprehensive analysis of this internal conversation that people have with themselves to think about problems, clarify goals, and guide their way through life.
Norbert Wiley shrewdly emphasizes the semiotic and dialogical features of the inner speech, rather than the biological and neurological issues. He also examines people who lack control of their inner speech—such as some autistics and many emotionally disturbed people who use trial and error rather than self-control—to show the power and effectiveness of inner speech.
Inner Speech and the Dialogical Self takes a humanistic social theorist approach to its topic. Wiley acknowledges the contributions of inner speech theorists, Lev Vygotsky and Mikhail Bakhtin, and addresses the classical pragmatism of Charles Sanders Peirce, John Dewey, William James, and George Herbert Mead to show the range and depth of this largely unexplored field.
In this ambitious study, Diane Bjorklund explores the historical nature of self-narrative. Examining over 100 American autobiographers published in the last two centuries, she discusses not only well-known autobiographies such as Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie but also many obscure ones such as a traveling book peddler, a minstrel, a hotel proprietress, an itinerant preacher, a West Point cadet, and a hoopskirt wire manufacturer. Bjorklund draws on the colorful stories of these autobiographers to show how their historical epoch shapes their understandings of self.
"A refreshingly welcome approach to this intriguing topic. . . . [Bjorklund's] extensive and systematic approach to her source material is impressive and enriches our understanding of this essential subject."—Virginia Quarterly Review
"Bjorklund studies both famous and obscure writers, and her clear prose style and copious quotations provide insight into the many aspects of the changing American self." —Library Journal
Western society has never been more interested in interiority. Indeed, it seems more and more people are deliberately looking inward—toward the mind, the body, or both. Michal Pagis’s Inward focuses on one increasingly popular channel for the introverted gaze: vipassana meditation, which has spread from Burma to more than forty countries and counting. Lacing her account with vivid anecdotes and personal stories, Pagis turns our attention not only to the practice of vipassana but to the communities that have sprung up around it. Inward is also a social history of the westward diffusion of Eastern religious practices spurred on by the lingering effects of the British colonial presence in India. At the same time Pagis asks knotty questions about what happens when we continually turn inward, as she investigates the complex relations between physical selves, emotional selves, and our larger social worlds. Her book sheds new light on evergreen topics such as globalization, social psychology, and the place of the human body in the enduring process of self-awareness.
Psychiatrists define cruelty to animals as a psychological problem or personality disorder. Legally, animal cruelty is described by a list of behaviors. In Just a Dog, Arnold Arluke argues that our current constructs of animal cruelty are decontextualized—imposed without regard to the experience of the groups committing the act. Yet those who engage in animal cruelty have their own understandings of their actions and of themselves as actors. In this fascinating book, Arluke probes those understandings and reveals the surprising complexities of our relationships with animals. Just a Dog draws from interviews with more than 250 people, including humane agents who enforce cruelty laws, college students who tell stories of childhood abuse of animals, hoarders who chronically neglect the welfare of many animals, shelter workers who cope with the ethics of euthanizing animals, and public relations experts who use incidents of animal cruelty for fundraising purposes. Through these case studies, Arluke shows how the meaning of "cruelty" reflects and helps to create identities and ideologies.
A volume in the Poets on Poetry series, which collects critical works by contemporary poets, gathering together the articles, interviews, and book reviews by which they have articulated the poetics of a new generation.
The line between poetry (the delicate, surprising not-quite) and the essay (the emphatic so-there!) is thin, easily crossed. Both welcome a deep mulling-over, endlessly mixing image and idea and running with scissors; certainly each distrusts the notion of premise or formulaic progression. Marianne Boruch’s essays in The Little Death of Self emerged by way of odd details or bothersome questions that would not quit—Why does the self grow smaller as the poem grows enormous? Why does closure in a poem so often mean keep going? Must we stalk the poem or does the poem stalk us until the world clicks open?
Boruch’s intrepid curiosity led her to explore fields of expertise about which she knew little: aviation, music, anatomy, history, medicine, photography, fiction, neuroscience, physics, anthropology, painting, and drawing. There’s an addiction to metaphor here, an affection for image, sudden turns of thinking, and the great subjects of poetry: love, death, time, knowledge. There’s amazement at the dumb luck of staying long enough in an inkling to make it a poem at all. Poets such as Keats, Stevens, Frost, Plath, Auden, and Bishop, along with painters, inventors, doctors, scientists, composers, musicians, neighbors, friends, and family—all traffic blatantly or under the surface—and one gets a glimpse of such fellow travelers now and then.
The Little Field of Self
Doreen Gildroy University of Chicago Press, 2002 Library of Congress PS3607.I43L58 2002 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Set in a castle and on its grounds in Brittany, The Little Field of Self is one long poem comprised of individual poems that articulate the essence of devotion and the conflict within the devoted. With surprising inventiveness and technical skill, and without ornamentation, self-consciousness, or self-display, Doreen Gildroy has forged an original poetic style that renders inner being authentically and convincingly.
Mystery, rather than “problem,” provides the context that the cultural ethnographer best uses to approach the experience of both the living and the writing of culture. In this work, H. L. Goodall, Jr., continues his discussion of the cultural ethnographer as detective through an investigation of what he calls the “rock n roll mystery.”
Using Bakhtin’s notion of “Carnival,” Goodall positions rock n roll as an important aspect of the American cultural experience using its lyrics and rhythm as a force of resistance to the dominant bureaucratic order. He argues that interpretive ethnography, where sentences use rhythms and emotions along with words to construct a work, parallels rock n roll in its creation of multiple voices struggling for creative and interpretive presence and space in the text. As there is no privileged text in the social life of rock n roll, there is no privileged voice in the writing of interpretive ethnography. It is, instead, a reading and writing method within the field of communication and the field of cultural studies that challenges the “existing wisdom.”
Goodall invites the reader to join him in the role of the detective who confronts, enters, and then participates in the mysteries of living. Through the use of his interpretive method, Goodall is able to move under the skin of experience to disclose the relationship among self, other(s), and context, an understanding only achieved by “going beneath the often cosmetic surfaces of cultural traffic to where symbols mingle with the driven stuff of life.” Because the “stuff of life” is laid out on the pages of this book, Goodall’s text is as compelling as a good novel and in some ways more intimate.
Gerald N. Callahan University Press of Colorado, 2013 Library of Congress RC489.S43C35 2013 | Dewey Decimal 613
In Lousy Sex Gerald Callahan explores the science of self, illustrating the immune system’s role in forming individual identity. Blending the scientific essay with deeply personal narratives, these poignant and enlightening stories use microbiology and immunology to explore a new way to answer the question, who am I?
“Self” has many definitions. Science has demonstrated that 90 percent of the cells in our bodies are bacteria—we are in many respects more non-self than self. In Lousy Sex, Callahan considers this microbio-neuro perspective on human identity together with the soulful, social perception of self, drawing on both art and science to fully illuminate this relationship.
In his stories about where we came from and who we are, Callahan uses autobiographical episodes to illustrate his scientific points. Through stories about the sex lives of wood lice, the biological advantages of eating dirt, the question of immortality, the relationship between syphilis and the musical genius of Beethoven, and more, this book creates another way, a chimeric way, of seeing ourselves. The general reader with an interest in science will find Lousy Sex fascinating.
A compelling biography of an important eyewitness to the twentieth century.
Marie Syrkin’s life spanned ninety years of the twentieth century, 1899–1989. As a polemical journalist, socialist Zionist, poet, educator, literary critic, translator, and idiosyncratic feminist, she was an eyewitness to and reporter on most of the major events in America, Israel, and Europe. Beautiful as well as brilliant, she had a rich personal life as a lover, wife, mother, and friend. During her lifetime Syrkin’s name was widely recognized in the world of Jewish life and letters. Yet, since Syrkin’s death, recognition of her name is no longer quite so immediate. Carole S. Kessner’s biography restores Syrkin’s fascinating life and legacy for a new generation.
Ancient literature features many powerful narratives of madness, depression, melancholy, lovesickness, simple boredom, and the effects of such psychological states upon individual sufferers. Peter Toohey turns his attention to representations of these emotional states in the Classical, Hellenistic, and especially the Roman imperial periods in a study that illuminates the cultural and aesthetic significance of this emotionally charged literature. His probing analysis shows that a shifting representation of these afflicted states, and the concomitant sense of isolation from one's social affinities and surroundings, manifests a developing sense of the self and self-consciousness in the ancient world.
This book makes important contributions to a variety of disciplines including classical studies, comparative literature, literary and art history, history of medicine, history of emotions, psychiatry, and psychology.
Peter Toohey is Professor and Department Head of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Calgary, Canada.
Written from the standpoint of the social behaviorist, this treatise contains the heart of Mead's position on social psychology. The analysis of language is of major interest, as it supplied for the first time an adequate treatment of the language mechanism in relation to scientific and philosophical issues.
"If philosophical eminence be measured by the extent to which a man's writings anticipate the focal problems of a later day and contain a point of view which suggests persuasive solutions to many of them, then George Herbert Mead has justly earned the high praise bestowed upon him by Dewey and Whitehead as a 'seminal mind of the very first order.'"—Sidney Hook, The Nation
George Herbert Mead is widely recognized as one of the most brilliantly original American pragmatists. Although he had a profound influence on the development of social philosophy, he published no books in his lifetime. This makes the lectures collected in Mind, Self, and Society all the more remarkable, as they offer a rare synthesis of his ideas.
This collection gets to the heart of Mead’s meditations on social psychology and social philosophy. Its penetrating, conversational tone transports the reader directly into Mead’s classroom as he teases out the genesis of the self and the nature of the mind. The book captures his wry humor and shrewd reasoning, showing a man comfortable quoting Aristotle alongside Alice in Wonderland.
Included in this edition are an insightful foreword from leading Mead scholar Hans Joas, a revealing set of textual notes by Dan Huebner that detail the text’s origins, and a comprehensive bibliography of Mead’s other published writings. While Mead’s lectures inspired hundreds of students, much of his brilliance has been lost to time. This new edition ensures that Mead’s ideas will carry on, inspiring a new generation of thinkers.
People in the ancient world thought of vision as both an ethical tool and a tactile sense, akin to touch. Gazing upon someone—or oneself—was treated as a path to philosophical self-knowledge, but the question of tactility introduced an erotic element as well. In The Mirror of the Self, Shadi Bartsch asserts that these links among vision, sexuality, and self-knowledge are key to the classical understanding of the self.
Weaving together literary theory, philosophy, and social history, Bartsch traces this complex notion of self from Plato’s Greece to Seneca’s Rome. She starts by showing how ancient authors envisioned the mirror as both a tool for ethical self-improvement and, paradoxically, a sign of erotic self-indulgence. Her reading of the Phaedrus, for example, demonstrates that the mirroring gaze in Plato, because of its sexual possibilities, could not be adopted by Roman philosophers and their students. Bartsch goes on to examine the Roman treatment of the ethical and sexual gaze, and she traces how self-knowledge, the philosopher’s body, and the performance of virtue all played a role in shaping the Roman understanding of the nature of selfhood. Culminating in a profoundly original reading of Medea, The Mirror of the Self illustrates how Seneca, in his Stoic quest for self-knowledge, embodies the Roman view, marking a new point in human thought about self-perception.
Bartsch leads readers on a journey that unveils divided selves, moral hypocrisy, and lustful Stoics—and offers fresh insights about seminal works. At once sexy and philosophical, The Mirror of the Self will be required reading for classicists, philosophers, and anthropologists alike.
This book explores the distinct historical-political imagination of the self in the twentieth century and advances two arguments. First, it suggests that we should read the history of modern political philosophy afresh in light of a theme that emerges in the late eighteenth century: the rift between self and social institutions. Second, it argues that this rift was reformulated in the twentieth century in a manner that contrasts with the optimism of nineteenth-century thinkers regarding its resolution. It proposes a new political imagination of the twentieth century found in the works of Weber, Freud, and Foucault, and characterizes it as one of "entrapment."
Eyal Chowers shows how thinkers working within diverse theoretical frameworks and fields nevertheless converge in depicting a self that has lost its capacity to control or transform social institutions. He argues that Weber, Freud, and Foucault helped shape the distinctive thought and culture of the past century by portraying a dehumanized and distorted self marked by sameness. This new political imagination proposes coping with modernity through the recovery, integration, and assertion of the self, rather than by mastering and refashioning collective institutions.
Narrative Structures and the Language of the Self by Matthew Clark offers a new way of thinking about the interrelation of character and plot. Clark investigates the characters brought together in a narrative, considering them not as random collections but as structured sets that correspond to various manifestations of the self. The shape and structure of these sets can be thought of as narrative geometry, and various geometries imply various theories of the self. Part One, “Philosophical Fables of the Self,” examines narratives such as The Talented Mr. Ripley,A Farewell to Arms,A Separate Peace, and The Master of Ballantrae in order to show successively more complex versions of the self as modeled by Descartes, Hegel, Freud, and Mead. Part Two, “The Case of the Subject,” uses Case Grammar to extend the discussion to additional roles of the self in narratives such as The Waves,The Great Gatsby,Fifth Business, and Howards End as examples of the self as experiencer, the self as observer, the instrumental self, and the locative self. The book ends with an extended analysis of the subject in Hartley’s The Go-Between. Throughout, the discussion is concerned with practical analysis of specific narratives and with the development of an understanding of the self that moves beyond the simple dichotomy of the self and the other, the subject and the object.
“In his study of the New South and foreign affairs, Tennant McWilliams raises a central question: why have southerners failed to develop a realistic attitude about U.S. relations with the rest of the world? He notes that throughout their history southerners have encountered failure, poverty, guilt, defeat, and ridicule and that their experiences seem at odds with the notions of invincibility that have fueled the flames of American idealism. Yet McWilliams points out that southerners have joined with northerners in accepting the ideas of a mission to extend the American way of life to people around the world. Thus, he asks, what happened between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the cold war that can help explain the failure of realism to dampen the crusading spirit in the South.”
Elizabeth Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy” and “The First Person” have become touchstones of analytic philosophy but their significance remains controversial or misunderstood. James Doyle offers a fresh interpretation of Anscombe’s theses about ethical reasoning and individual identity that reconciles seemingly incompatible points of view.
It is almost impossible now to imagine the prestigious position Charles Horton Cooley (1864-1929) held within the founding generation of American sociologists. His seminal work on human communication, social organization, and public opinion stimulated and guided much of early American sociological thought.
Cooley's work relating self and community is now more relevant than ever to the problems of understanding and directing modern democratic societies. Cooley applied the ideas of pragmatism to developing a systematic way of approaching social action, social change, and social order; he used these interrelated theories to analyze the social problems and cultural crises of the age. According to Cooley, social change is a fragile, interactive process that, due to constantly arising problems of action, requires ongoing scrutiny by the public. This collection of Cooley's best work is an important contribution not only to the history of ideas—especially to the origin of modern sociological theory— but also to the current public debate on civil society, community, and democracy.
The Origins of Self explores the role selfhood plays in defining both human society and each individual in that society. It considers the genetic and cultural origins of self, the role that self plays in socialization and language, and the types of selves we generate in our individual journeys to and through adulthood. Martin P. J. Edwardes argues that other-awareness is a relatively early evolutionary development, present throughout the primate clade and perhaps beyond, but self-awareness is a product of the sharing of social models, something only humans appear to do. The self of which we are aware is not something innate within us, it is a model of our self produced as a response to the models of us offered to us by other people. Edwardes proposes that human construction of selfhood involves seven different types of self. All but one of them are internally generated models, and the only nonmodel, the actual self, is completely hidden from conscious awareness. We rely on others to tell us about our self, and even to let us know we are a self. Developed in relation to a range of subject areas—linguistics, anthropology, genomics, and cognition, as well as sociocultural theory—The Origins of Self is of particular interest to students and researchers studying the origins of language, human origins in general, and the cognitive differences between human and other animal psychologies.
Osiris annually examines a particular topic in the history of science, bringing together experts in the field to consider multiple aspects of the time period, episode, or theme. Volume 22 explores the ways that twentieth-century political institutions and the human sciences in the western world attempted to understand and shape the attitudes and behaviors of individuals.
Turn-of-the century Vienna is remembered as an aesthetic, erotic, and intellectual world: the birthplace of Freud and psychoanalysis, the waltz, and novels of Schnitzler. The contexts of this cultural vibrancy, Chandak Sengoopta argues, were darker and more complex than we might imagine.
This provocative, enlightening study explores the milieu in which the philosopher Otto Weininger (1880-1903) wrote his controversial book Sex and Character. Shortly after its publication, Weininger committed suicide at the age of twenty-three. His book, which argued that women and Jews were mere sexual beings who lacked individuality, became a bestseller.
Hailed as a genius by intellectuals such as Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Kraus, Weininger was admired, not for his prejudices, but for his engagement with the central issues of the time—the nature and meanings of identity. Sengoopta pays particular attention to how Weininger appropriated scientific language and data to defend his views and examines the scientific theories themselves.
The Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers has emerged as one of the most well-respected writing programs in the country, producing a generation of first-rate poets who are also deeply dedicated teachers of their art. Poets Teaching Poets collects essays by current and former lecturers at Warren Wilson, including acclaimed poets Joan Aleshire, Marianne Boruch, Carl Dennis, Stephen Dobyns, Reginald Gibbons, Louise Glü ck, Allen Grossman, Robert Haas, Tony Hoagland, Heather McHugh, Gregory Orr, Michael Ryan, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Alan Williamson, Eleanor Wilner, and Renate Wood.
This passionate and provocative anthology presents an extended, insightful dialogue on an astonishing range of topics: writers from Homer, Dickinson, and Akhmatova to Bishop, O'Hara, Milosz, and Plath; meditations on the nature of the image and the discovery of the self in Greek verse; a passionate defense of lyric poetry; and other engaging themes. Whatever their subject, these essays are, at the core, passionate and thoughtful meditations on the place of poetry in contemporary culture.
Poets Teaching Poets will be an invaluable tool for teachers and students of poetry and poetics at every level. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the connections between craft and the larger issues of art, and in the continuing and exciting relevance of poetry today.
Gregory Orr is author of six books of poetry, most recently City of Salt, and of two books of criticism, Richer Entanglements: Essays and Notes on Poetry and Poems and Stanley Kunitz: An Introduction to the Poetry. He is Professor of English, University of Virginia.
Ellen Bryant Voigt is founder and former director of the low-residency MFA Writing Program at Goddard College and teaches in its relocated incarnation at Warren Wilson College. She has published four volumes of poetry and has received numerous awards, including two Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
In the wake of the French Revolution, as attempts to restore political stability to France repeatedly failed, a group of concerned intellectuals identified a likely culprit: the prevalent sensationalist psychology, and especially the flimsy and fragmented self it produced. They proposed a vast, state-run pedagogical project to replace sensationalism with a new psychology that showcased an indivisible and actively willing self, or moi. As conceived and executed by Victor Cousin, this long-lived project singled out the male bourgeoisie for training in selfhood --Cousin and his disciples deemed workers and women incapable of the introspective finesse necessary to appropriate that self in practice.
The Practices of the Self
Charles Larmore University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress BD438.5.L3713 2010 | Dewey Decimal 126
What is the nature of the fundamental relation we have to ourselves that makes each of us a self? To answer this question, Charles Larmore develops a systematic theory of the self, challenging the widespread view that the self’s defining relation to itself is to have an immediate knowledge of its own thoughts. On the contrary, Larmore maintains, our essential relation to ourselves is practical, as is clear when we consider the nature of belief and desire. For to believe or desire something consists in committing ourselves to thinking and acting in accord with the presumed truth of our belief or the presumed value of what we desire.
Larmore develops this conception with frequent reference to such classic authors as Montaigne, Stendhal, and Proust and by comparing it to other views of the self in contemporary philosophy. He also discusses the important ethical consequences of his theory of the self, arguing that it allows us to better grasp what it means to be ourselves and why self-understanding often involves self-creation.
Winner of the Académie Française’s Grand Prix de Philosophie, The Practices of the Self is that rare kind of lucid yet rigorous work that transcends disciplinary boundaries.
The violence, wonder, and nostalgia of voyaging are nowhere more vivid than in the literature of South Seas exploration. Preserving the Self in the South Seas charts the sensibilities of the lonely figures that encountered the new and exotic in terra incognita. Jonathan Lamb introduces us to the writings of South Seas explorers, and finds in them unexpected and poignant tales of selves alarmed and transformed.
Lamb contends that European exploration of the South Seas was less confident and mindful than we have assumed. It was, instead, conducted in moods of distraction and infatuation that were hard to make sense of and difficult to narrate, and it prompted reactions among indigenous peoples that were equally passionate and irregular. Preserving the Self in the South Seas also examines these common crises of exploration in the context of a metropolitan audience that eagerly consumed narratives of the Pacific while doubting their truth. Lamb considers why these halting and incredible journals were so popular with the reading public, and suggests that they dramatized anxieties and bafflements rankling at the heart of commercial society.
Throughout China the formation of guanxi, or social connections, involves friends, families, colleagues, and acquaintances in complex networks of social support and sentimental attachment. Focusing on this process in one rural north China village, Fengjia, Andrew Kipnis shows what guanxi production reveals about the evolution of village political economy, kinship and gender, and local patterns of subjectivity in Dengist China. His work offers a detailed description of the communicative actions—such as gift giving, being a host or guest, participating in weddings or funerals—that produce, manage, and deny guanxi in a specific time and place. Kipnis also offers a rare comparative analysis of how these practices relate to the varied and variable phenomenon of guanxi throughout China and as it has changed over time. Producing Guanxi combines the theory of Pierre Bourdieu and the insights of symbolic anthropology to contest past portrayals of guanxi as either a function of Chinese political economics or an unchanging Confucian social structure. In this analysis guanxi emerges as a purposeful human effort that makes use of past cultural logics while generating new ones. By exploring the role of sentiment in the creation of self, Kipnis critiques recent theories of subjectivity for their narrow focus on language and discourse, and contributes to the anthropological discussion of comparative selfhood. Navigating a path between mainstream social science and abstract social theory, Kipnis presents a more nuanced examination of guanxi than has previously been available and contributes generally to our understanding of relationships and human action.
"We are becoming fluid and many-sided. Without quite realizing it, we have been evolving a sense of self appropriate to the restlessness and flux of our time. This mode of being differs radically from that of the past, and enables us to engage in continuous exploration and personal experiment. I have named it the 'protean self,' after Proteus, the Greek sea god of many forms."—from The Protean Self
Bringing together an extraordinary richness of evidence—from letters, diaries, and other intimate family records of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—Philip Greven explores the strikingly distinctive ways in which Protestant children were reared in America. In tracing the hidden continuities of religious experience, of attitudes toward God, children, the self, sexuality, pleasure, virtue, and achievement, Greven identifies three distinct Protestant temperaments prevailing among Americans at the time: the Evangelical, the Moderate, and the General. The Protestant Temperament is a powerful reassessment of the role of child-rearing and religion in early American life.
In Queer in Russia Laurie Essig examines the formation of gay identity and community in the former Soviet Union. As a sociological fieldworker, she began her research during the late 1980s, before any kind of a public queer identity existed in that country. After a decade of conducting interviews, as well as observing and analyzing plays, books, pop music, and graffiti, Essig presents the first sustained study of how and why there was no Soviet gay community or even gay identity before perestroika and the degree to which this situation has—or has not—changed. While male homosexual acts were criminalized in Russia before 1993, women attracted to women were policed by the medical community, who saw them less as criminals than as diseased persons potentially cured by drug therapy or transsexual surgery. After describing accounts of pre-perestroika persecution, Essig examines the more recent state of sexual identities in Russia. Although the fall of communism brought new freedom to Russian queers, there are still no signs of a mass movement forming around the issue, and few identify themselves as lesbians or gay men, even when they are involved in same-sex relations. Essig does reveal, however, vibrant manifestations of gay life found at the local level—in restaurants, discos, clubs, and cruising strips, in newspapers, journals, literature, and the theater. Concluding with a powerful exploration of the surprising affinities between some of Russia’s most prominent nationalists and its queers, Queer in Russia fills a gap in both Russian and cultural studies.
Since we discovered that, in Tocqueville's words, "the incomplete joys of this world will never satisfy the heart," how have we Americans made do? In The Real American Dream one of the nation's premier literary scholars searches out the symbols and stories by which Americans have reached for something beyond worldly desire. A spiritual history ranging from the first English settlements to the present day, the book is also a lively, deeply learned meditation on hope.
Andrew Delbanco tells of the stringent God of Protestant Christianity, who exerted immense force over the language, institutions, and customs of the culture for nearly 200 years. He describes the falling away of this God and the rise of the idea of a sacred nation-state. And, finally, he speaks of our own moment, when symbols of nationalism are in decline, leaving us with nothing to satisfy the longing for transcendence once sustained by God and nation.
From the Christian story that expressed the earliest Puritan yearnings to New Age spirituality, apocalyptic environmentalism, and the multicultural search for ancestral roots that divert our own, The Real American Dream evokes the tidal rhythm of American history. It shows how Americans have organized their days and ordered their lives--and ultimately created a culture--to make sense of the pain, desire, pleasure, and fear that are the stuff of human experience. In a time of cultural crisis, when the old stories seem to be faltering, this book offers a lesson in the painstaking remaking of the American dream.
In the Reason of Following noted scholar Robert P. Scharlemann takes Christology in a radically new direction, suggesting that Christology itself represents a form of reason and an understanding of selfhood. For the first time, Scharlemann establishes a logical place for Christology in philosophical theology.
Scharlemann presents a christological phenomenology of the self, tracing the connections between the "I am" of the God who spoke to Moses, the "I am" of Christ, and the "I am" of autonomous self-identification. How, he asks, can the self that spontaneously responds to Jesus' "Follow me!" be compared with the everyday, autonomous self? What is the nature of "following" on the part of those who answer the summons of one whose name is "I am"? Pursuing these questions, Scharlemann develops a christological phenomenology of the self—an account in which following means not the expression of the self in action or reflection but rather self-discovery in another person.
With a deep sense of both culture and philosophy, Scharlemann distinguishes the forms of reason involved in "following" from those in ethics, aesthetics, and other modes of religious philosophic thought. His penetrating readings of nineteenth- and twentieth-century German theological and philosophical traditions provide an introduction to lesser-known thinkers such as Hermann and Picht as well as a profound critique of major figures such as Descartes, Heidegger, Fichte, and Kant.
Finally Scharlemann outlines a program for a more systematic and rounded presentation of what Christian doctrine might mean in the contemporary world. His work will be of interest to students of theology and philosophy alike.
The book first argues that religious feeling persists in the secular western mind; that it has taken refuge in the unlikeliest of camps, indeed with the supposed debunker of religious creed: the rationalist existential ego.
In his foundational work The Restoration of the Self, noted psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut boldly challenges what he called “the limits of classical analytic theory” and the Freudian orthodoxy. Here Kohut proposes a “psychology of the self” as a theory in its own right—one that can stand beside the teachings of Freud and Jung.
Using clinical data, Kohut explores issues such as the role of narcissism in personality, when a patient can be considered cured, and the oversimplifications and social biases that unduly influenced Freudian thought. This volume puts forth some of Kohut’s most influential ideas on achieving emotional health through a balanced, creative, and joyful sense of self.
"Kohut speaks clearly from his identity as a psychoanalyst-healer, showing that he is more of a psychoanalyst than most, and yet calling for major theoretical revisions including a redefinition of the essence of psychoanalysis.”—American Journal of Psychotherapy
Roman Stoic thinkers in the imperial period adapted Greek doctrine to create a model of the self that served to connect philosophical ideals with traditional societal values. The Roman Stoics-the most prominent being Marcus Aurelius-engaged in rigorous self-examination that enabled them to integrate philosophy into the practice of living. Gretchen Reydams-Schils's innovative new book shows how these Romans applied their distinct brand of social ethics to everyday relations and responsibilities.
The Roman Stoics reexamines the philosophical basis that instructed social practice in friendship, marriage, parenting, and community. From this analysis emerge Stoics who were neither cold nor detached, as the stereotype has it, but all too aware of their human weaknesses. In a valuable contribution to current discussions in the humanities on identity, autonomy, and altruism, Reydams-Schils ultimately conveys the wisdom of Stoics to the citizens of modern society.
Rousseau and Nietzsche presented two of the most influential critiques of modern life and much can still be learned from their respective analyses of problems we still face.
In Rousseau, Nietzsche, and the Image of the Human, Paul Franco examines the relationship between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Friedrich Nietzsche, arguably the two most influential shapers and explorers of the moral and cultural imagination of late modernity. Both thinkers leveled radical critiques of modern life, but those critiques differed in important respects. Whereas Rousseau focused on the growing inequality of modern society and the hypocrisy, self-division, and loss of civic virtue it spawned, Nietzsche decried the democratic equality he identified with Rousseau and the loss of individual and cultural greatness it entailed. Franco argues, however, that Rousseau and Nietzsche are more than mere critics; they both put forward powerful alternative visions of how we ought to live. Franco focuses specifically on their views of the self and its realization, their understandings of women and the relation between the sexes, and their speculative conceptions of politics. While there are many similarities in their positive visions, Franco argues that it is the differences between them from which we have most to learn.
Discussions of China’s early twentieth-century modernization efforts tend to focus almost exclusively on cities, and the changes, both cultural and industrial, seen there. As a result, the communist peasant revolution appears as a decisive historical break. Kate Merkel-Hess corrects that misconception by demonstrating how crucial the countryside was for reformers in China long before the success of the communist revolution.
In The Rural Modern, Merkel-Hess shows that Chinese reformers and intellectuals created an idea of modernity that was not simply about what was foreign and new, as in Shanghai and other cities, but instead captured the Chinese people’s desire for social and political change rooted in rural traditions and institutions. She traces efforts to remake village education, economics, and politics, analyzing how these efforts contributed to a new, inclusive vision of rural Chinese life. Merkel-Hess argues that as China sought to redefine itself, such rural reform efforts played a major role, and tensions that emerged between rural and urban ways deeply informed social relations, government policies, and subsequent efforts to create a modern nation during the communist period.
Sculpting the Self addresses “what it means to be human” in a secular, post-Enlightenment world by exploring notions of self and subjectivity in Islamic and non-Islamic philosophical and mystical thought. Alongside detailed analyses of three major Islamic thinkers (Mulla ?adra, Shah Wali Allah, and Muhammad Iqbal), this study also situates their writings on selfhood within the wider constellation of related discussions in late modern and contemporary thought, engaging the seminal theoretical insights on the self by William James, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Michel Foucault. This allows the book to develop its inquiry within a spectrum theory of selfhood, incorporating bio-physiological, socio-cultural, and ethico-spiritual modes of discourse and meaning-construction. Weaving together insights from several disciplines such as religious studies, philosophy, anthropology, critical theory, and neuroscience, and arguing against views that narrowly restrict the self to a set of cognitive functions and abilities, this study proposes a multidimensional account of the self that offers new options for addressing central issues in the contemporary world, including spirituality, human flourishing, and meaning in life.
This is the first book-length treatment of selfhood in Islamic thought that draws on a wealth of primary source texts in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Greek, and other languages. Muhammad U. Faruque’s interdisciplinary approach makes a significant contribution to the growing field of cross-cultural dialogue, as it opens up the way for engaging premodern and modern Islamic sources from a contemporary perspective by going beyond the exegesis of historical materials. He initiates a critical conversation between new insights into human nature as developed in neuroscience and modern philosophical literature and millennia-old Islamic perspectives on the self, consciousness, and human flourishing as developed in Islamic philosophical, mystical, and literary traditions.
Drawing on classical antiquity and Western and Eastern philosophy, Richard Sorabji tackles in Self the question of whether there is such a thing as the individual self or only a stream of consciousness. According to Sorabji, the self is not an undetectable soul or ego, but an embodied individual whose existence is plain to see. Unlike a mere stream of consciousness, it is something that owns not only a consciousness but also a body.
Sorabji traces historically the retreat from a positive idea of self and draws out the implications of these ideas of self on the concepts of life and death, asking: Should we fear death? How should our individuality affect the way we live? Through an astute reading of a huge array of traditions, he helps us come to terms with our uneasiness about the subject of self in an account that will be at the forefront of philosophical debates for years to come.
“There has never been a book remotely like this one in its profusion of ancient references on ideas about human identity and selfhood . . . . Readers unfamiliar with the subject also need to know that Sorabji breaks new ground in giving special attention to philosophers such as Epictetus and other Stoics, Plotinus and later Neoplatonists, and the ancient commentators on Aristotle (on the last of whom he is the world's leading authority).”—Anthony A. Long, Times Literary Supplement
An ARTery Best Book of the Year
An Art of Manliness Best Book of the Year
In a culture that has become progressively more skeptical and materialistic, the desires of the individual self stand supreme, Mark Edmundson says. We spare little thought for the great ideals that once gave life meaning and worth. Self and Soul is an impassioned effort to defend the values of the Soul.
“An impassioned critique of Western society, a relentless assault on contemporary complacency, shallowness, competitiveness and self-regard…Throughout Self and Soul, Edmundson writes with a Thoreau-like incisiveness and fervor…[A] powerful, heartfelt book.”
—Michael Dirda, Washington Post
“[Edmundson’s] bold and ambitious new book is partly a demonstration of what a ‘real education’ in the humanities, inspired by the goal of ‘human transformation’ and devoted to taking writers seriously, might look like…[It] quietly sets out to challenge many educational pieties, most of the assumptions of recent literary studies—and his own chosen lifestyle.”
—Mathew Reisz, Times Higher Education
“Edmundson delivers a welcome championing of humanistic ways of thinking and living.”
Theorists of autobiography tend to emphasize the centrality of the individual against the community. By contrast, in her reading of Hebrew autobiography, Tamar Hess identifies the textual presence and function of the collective and its interplay with the Israeli self. What characterizes the ten writers she examines is the idea of a national self, an individual whose life story takes on meaning from his or her relation to the collective history and ethos of the nation. Her second and related argument is that this self—individually and collectively—must be understood in the context of waves of immigration to Israel’s shores. Hess convincingly shows that autobiography is a transnational genre deeply influenced by the nation’s literary as well as cultural history. This book makes an additional contribution to the history of autobiography and contemporary autobiography theory by analyzing the strategies of fragmentation that many of the writers Hess studies have adopted as ways of dealing with the conflicts between the self and the nation, between who they feel they are and what they are expected to be. Hess contrasts the predominantly masculine tradition of Hebrew autobiography with writings by women, and offers a fresh understanding of the Israeli soul and the Hebrew literary canon. A systematic review of contemporary Hebrew autobiography, this study raises fundamental questions essential to the debates about identity at the heart of Israeli culture today. It will interest scholars and students of contemporary Israeli culture, as well as those intrigued by the literary genre of autobiography.
Twenty-four distinguished behavioral scientists present recent research on the self during the pivotal period of transition from infancy to childhood and place it in historical perspective, citing earlier work of such figures as William James, George Herbert Mead, Sigmund Freud, and Heinz Kohut.
Contributors are Elizabeth Bates, Marjorie Beeghly, Barbara Belmont, Leslie Bottomly, Helen K. Buchsbaum, George Butterworth, Vicki Carlson, Dante Cicchetti, James P. Connell, Robert N. Emde, Jerome Kagan, Robert A. LeVine, Andrew N. Meltzoff, Editha Nottelmann, Sandra Pipp, Marian Radke-Yarrow, Catherine E. Snow, L. Alan Sroufe, Gerald Stechler, Sheree L. Toth, Malcolm Watson, and Dennie Palmer Wolf.
Self to Self brings together essays on personal identity, autonomy, and moral emotions by the philosopher J. David Velleman. Although the essays were written independently, they are unified by an overarching thesis – that there is no single entity denoted by “the self ” – as well as by themes from Kantian ethics, psychoanalytic theory, social psychology, and Velleman’s work in the philosophy of action. Two of the essays were selected by the editors of Philosophers’ Annual as being among the ten best papers in their year of publication.
Self to Self will be of interest to philosophers, psychologists, and others who theorize about the self.
This book is a study of a Soviet cultural phenomenon of the 1950s through the 1980s known as guitar poetry—songs accompanied by guitar and considered poetry in much the same way as those of, for example, Bob Dylan. Platonov’s is the most comprehensive book in English to date to analyze guitar poetry, which has rarely received scholarly attention outside of Russia. Going well beyond the conventional, text-centered view of guitar poetry as a form of political or artistic dissent, largely a function of the Cold War climate in which it began, Platonov argues for a more complex understanding of guitar poetry as a means of self-invention and community formation. Although grounded in literary studies, the book effectively brings historical, anthropological, and musicological perspectives to bear on an understudied phenomenon of the post-Stalin period.
In this extensive inquiry into the sources of modern selfhood, Charles Taylor demonstrates just how rich and precious those resources are. The modern turn to subjectivity, with its attendant rejection of an objective order of reason, has led—it seems to many—to mere subjectivism at the mildest and to sheer nihilism at the worst. Many critics believe that the modern order has no moral backbone and has proved corrosive to all that might foster human good. Taylor rejects this view. He argues that, properly understood, our modern notion of the self provides a framework that more than compensates for the abandonment of substantive notions of rationality.
The major insight of Sources of the Self is that modern subjectivity, in all its epistemological, aesthetic, and political ramifications, has its roots in ideas of human good. After first arguing that contemporary philosophers have ignored how self and good connect, the author defines the modern identity by describing its genesis. His effort to uncover and map our moral sources leads to novel interpretations of most of the figures and movements in the modern tradition. Taylor shows that the modern turn inward is not disastrous but is in fact the result of our long efforts to define and reach the good. At the heart of this definition he finds what he calls the affirmation of ordinary life, a value which has decisively if not completely replaced an older conception of reason as connected to a hierarchy based on birth and wealth. In telling the story of a revolution whose proponents have been Augustine, Montaigne, Luther, and a host of others, Taylor’s goal is in part to make sure we do not lose sight of their goal and endanger all that has been achieved. Sources of the Self provides a decisive defense of the modern order and a sharp rebuff to its critics.
Many consider the autobiography to be a Western genre that represents the self as fully autonomous. The contributors to Speaking of the Self challenge this presumption by examining a wide range of women's autobiographical writing from South Asia. Expanding the definition of what kinds of writing can be considered autobiographical, the contributors analyze everything from poetry, songs, mystical experiences, and diaries to prose, fiction, architecture, and religious treatises. The authors they study are just as diverse: a Mughal princess, an eighteenth-century courtesan from Hyderabad, a nineteenth-century Muslim prostitute in Punjab, a housewife in colonial Bengal, a Muslim Gandhian devotee of Krishna, several female Indian and Pakistani novelists, and two male actors who worked as female impersonators. The contributors find that in these autobiographies the authors construct their gendered selves in relational terms. Throughout, they show how autobiographical writing—in whatever form it takes—provides the means toward more fully understanding the historical, social, and cultural milieu in which the author performs herself and creates her subjectivity.
Spirituality, Gender, and the Self in Renaissance Italy places St. Angela Merici and her Company of St. Ursula in historical and religious context and examines them from a variety of perspectives: institutional, social, spiritual, and cultural.
In The Story of All Things Marshall Grossman analyzes the influence of major cultural developments, as well as significant events in the lives of Renaissance poets, to show how specific narratives characterize distinctive conceptions of the self in relation to historical action. To explore these conceptions of the self, Grossman focuses on the narrative poetry in the English Renaissance of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Relating subjectivity to the nature of language, Grossman uses the theories of Lacan to analyze the concept of the self as it encounters a transforming environment. He shows how ideological tensions arose from the reorganization and "modernization" of social life in revolutionary England and how the major poets of the time represented the division of the self in writings that are suspended between lyric and narrative genres. Beginning with the portrayals of the self inherited from Augustine, Dante, and Petrarch, he describes the influence of historic developments such as innovations in agricultural technology, civil war and regicide, and the emergence of republican state institutions on the changing representation of characters in the works of Spenser, Donne, Marvell, and Milton. Furthering this psychoanalytic critique of literary history, Grossman probes the linguistic effects of social and personal factors such as Augustine’s strained relationship with his mother and the marital disharmony of Milton and Mary Powell. With its focus on these and other "literary historical events," The Story of All Things not only proposes a new structural theory of narrative but constitutes a significant challenge to New Historicist conceptions of the self.
The turn of the twentieth century in New York City was characterized by radical transformation as the advent of consumer capitalism confronted established social hierarchies, culture, and conceptions of selfhood. The popular stage existed in a symbiotic relationship with the city and uniquely captured the contested terms of immigrant identity of the time.
Street Scenes focuses on the intersection of modern city life and stage performance. From street life and slumming to vaudeville and early cinema, to Yiddish theater and blackface comedy, Esther Romeyn discloses racial comedy, passing, and masquerade as gestures of cultural translation. In these performances she detects an obsession with the idea of the city as theater and the self as actor, which was fueled by the challenges that consumer capitalism presented to notions of an “authentic” self.
It was exactly this idea of “authentic” immigrant selfhood that was at stake in many performances on the popular stage, and Romeyn ultimately demonstrates how these diverse and potent immigrant works influenced the emergence of a modern metropolitan culture.
Shortly before his death in 1984, Michel Foucault spoke of an idea for a new book on "technologies of the self." He described it as "composed of different papers about the self...,about the role of reading and writing in constituting the self... and so on." The book Foucault envisioned was based on a faculty seminar on "Technologies of the Self," originally presented at the University of Vermont in the fall of 1982. This volume is a partial record of that seminar.
In many ways, Foucault's project on the self was the logical conclusion to his historical inquiry over twenty-five years into insanity, deviancy, criminality, and sexuality. Because Foucault died before he completed the revisions of his seminar presentations, this volume includes a careful transcription instead...as a prolegomenon to that unfinished task.
Foucault was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, social theorist, philologist and literary critic.
This volume was edited by Luther H. Martin, Huck Gutman, and Patrick H. Hutton.
Thoughts and Things
Leo Bersani University of Chicago Press, 2014 Library of Congress BD331.B475 2015 | Dewey Decimal 110
Leo Bersani’s career spans more than fifty years and extends across a wide spectrum of fields—including French studies, modernism, realist fiction, psychoanalytic criticism, film studies, and queer theory. Throughout this new collection of essays that ranges, interestingly and brilliantly, from movies by Claire Denis and Jean-Luc Godard to fiction by Proust and Pierre Bergounioux, Bersani considers various kinds of connectedness.
Thoughts and Things posits what would appear to be an irreducible gap between our thoughts (the human subject) and things (the world). Bersani departs from his psychoanalytic convictions to speculate on the oneness of being—of our intrinsic connectedness to the other that is at once external and internal to us. He addresses the problem of formulating ways to consider the undivided mind, drawing on various sources, from Descartes to cosmology, Freud, and Genet and succeeds brilliantly in diagramming new forms as well as radical failures of connectedness. Ambitious, original, and eloquent, Thoughts and Things will be of interest to scholars in philosophy, film, literature, and beyond.
This collection is the first extended investigation of the relation between time and memory in Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s thought as a whole and the first to explore in depth the significance of his concept of institution. It brings the French phenomenologist’s views on the self and ontology into contemporary focus. Time, Memory, Institution argues that the self is not a self-contained or self-determining identity, as such; it is gathered out of a radical openness to what is not self, and that it gathers itself in a time that is not merely a given dimension, but folds back upon, gathers, and institutes itself.
Access to previously unavailable texts, in particular Merleau-Ponty’s lectures on institution and expression, has presented scholars with new resources for thinking about time, memory, and history. These essays represent the best of this new direction in scholarship; they deepen our understanding of self and world in relation to time and memory; and they give occasion to reexamine Merleau-Ponty’s contribution and relevance to contemporary Continental philosophy.
This volume is essential reading for scholars of phenomenology and French philosophy, as well as for the many readers across the arts, humanities, and social sciences who continue to draw insight and inspiration from Merleau-Ponty.
Contributors: Elizabeth Behnke, Edward Casey, Véronique Fóti, Donald Landes, Kirsten Jacobson, Galen Johnson, Michael Kelly, Scott Marratto, Glen Mazis, Caterina Rea, John Russon, Robert Vallier, and Bernhard Waldenfels
Twins Talk is an ethnographic study of identical twins in the United States, a study unique in that it considers what twins have to say about themselves, instead of what researchers have written about them. It presents, in the first person, the grounded and practical experiences of twins as they engage, both individually and together, the “who am I” and “who are we” questions of life. Here, the twins themselves are the stars.
Dona Lee Davis conducted conversational interviews with twenty-two sets of identical twins attending the Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, the largest such gathering in the world. Lively and often opinionated, each twin comes through as a whole person who at the same time maintains a special bond that the vast majority of people will never experience.
The study provides a distinctive and enlightening insider’s challenge to the nature/nurture debates that dominate contemporary research on twins. The author, herself an identical twin, draws on aspects of her own life to inform her analysis of the data throughout the text. Each chapter addresses a different theme from multiple viewpoints, including those of popular science writers, scientific researchers, and singletons, as well as those of the twins themselves.
Developing a cybernetic model of subjectivity and personhood that honors disability experiences to reconceptualize the category of the human
Twentieth-century neuroscience fixed the brain as the basis of consciousness, the self, identity, individuality, even life itself, obscuring the fundamental relationships between bodies and the worlds that they inhabit. In Unraveling, Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer draws on narratives of family and individual experiences with neurological disorders, paired with texts by neuroscientists and psychiatrists, to decenter the brain and expose the ableist biases in the dominant thinking about personhood.
Unraveling articulates a novel cybernetic theory of subjectivity in which the nervous system is connected to the world it inhabits rather than being walled off inside the body, moving beyond neuroscientific, symbolic, and materialist approaches to the self to focus instead on such concepts as animation, modularity, and facilitation. It does so through close readings of memoirs by individuals who lost their hearing or developed trauma-induced aphasia, as well as family members of people diagnosed as autistic—texts that rethink modes of subjectivity through experiences with communication, caregiving, and the demands of everyday life.
Arguing for a radical antinormative bioethics, Unraveling shifts the discourse on neurological disorders from such value-laden concepts as “quality of life” to develop an inclusive model of personhood that honors disability experiences and reconceptualizes the category of the human in all of its social, technological, and environmental contexts.
While biographers have widely acknowledged the importance of family relationships to Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë and to their writing processes, literary critics have yet to give extensive consideration to the family as a subject of the writing itself. In “We Are Three Sisters,” Drew Lamonica focuses on the role of families in the Brontës’ fictions of personal development, exploring the ways in which their writings recognize the family as a defining community for selfhood.
Drawing on extensive primary sources, including works by Sarah Ellis, Sarah Lewis, Ann Richelieu Lamb, Harriet Martineau, Thomas Carlyle, Charles Dickens, and Elizabeth Gaskell, Lamonica examines the dialogic relationship between the Brontës’ novels and a mid-Victorian domestic ideology that held the family to be the principal nurturer of subjectivity. Using a sociohistorical framework, “We Are Three Sisters” shows that the Brontës’ novels display a heightened awareness of contemporary female experience and the complex problems of securing a valued sense of selfhood not wholly dependent on family ties.
The opening chapters discuss the mid-Victorian “culture of the family,” in which the Brontës emerged as voices exploring the adequacy of the family as the site for personal, and particularly female, development. These chapters also introduce the Brontës’ early collaborative writings, showing that the sisters’ shared interest in the family’s formative role arose from their own experience as a family of authors. Lamonica also examines the seldom-recognized influences of Patrick and Branwell Brontë on the development of the sisters’ writing.
Of the numerous studies on the Brontës, comparatively few consider all seven novels, and no previous study has undertaken to examine the Brontës’ writing in the context of mid-Victorian ideas regarding the family—its relationships, roles, and responsibilities. Lamonica explores in detail the various constructions of family in the sisters’ novels, concluding that the Brontës were attuned to complexities; they were not polemical writers with fixed feminist agendas.
The Brontës disputed the promotion of the family as the exclusive site for female development, morality, and fulfillment, without ever explicitly denying the possibility of domestic contentment. In doing so, the Brontës continue to challenge our readings and our understanding of them as mid-Victorian women. “We Are Three Sisters” is an important addition to the study of these fascinating women and their novels.
Traje, the brightly colored traditional dress of the highland Maya, is the principal visual expression of indigenous identity in Guatemala today. Whether worn in beauty pageants, made for religious celebrations, or sold in tourist markets, traje is more than "mere cloth"—it plays an active role in the construction and expression of ethnicity, gender, education, politics, wealth, and nationality for Maya and non-Maya alike. Carol Hendrickson presents an ethnography of clothing focused on the traje—particularly women’s traje—of Tecpán, Guatemala, a bi-ethnic community in the central highlands. She covers the period from 1980, when the recent round of violence began, to the early 1990s, when Maya revitalization efforts emerged. Using a symbolic analysis informed by political concerns, Hendrickson seeks to increase the value accorded to a subject like weaving, which is sometimes disparaged as "craft" or "women’s work." She examines traje in three dimensions—as part of the enduring images of the "Indian," as an indicator of change in the human life cycle and cloth production, and as a medium for innovation and creative expression. From this study emerges a picture of highland life in which traje and the people who wear it are bound to tradition and place, yet are also actively changing and reflecting the wider world. The book will be important reading for all those interested in the contemporary Maya, the cultural analysis of material culture, and the role of women in culture preservation and change.
Why do we buy? How do our acts of—and ideas about—consumption impact our selves, our institutions, and our societies? An incisive response to these questions, Why I Buy explains how consumption came to give meaning and value to social and personal life.
Balancing psychological, conceptual, and historical analyses with examples drawn from popular culture and mass media, Rami Gabriel traces the ways in which beliefs about the self—including dualism, individualism, and expressivism—influence consumer behavior. These understandings of the self, Gabriel argues, structure the values that Americans seek and find in consumer society; they therefore have structural consequences for our cultural, political, and economic lives. For example, Gabriel describes how imbalances in the institutions of participatory politics have directly resulted from a consumer society centered on powerful nongovernmental institutions and a scattered body of disengaged citizens whose social and individual needs are not primarily satisfied through civic involvement. By exploring the relationship between our individual needs and our institutions, Gabriel ultimately points the way toward transformations that could lead to a more sustaining and sustainable society.
It has been clear from the beginning that William Blake was both a political radical and a radical psychologist, and in William Blake on Self and Soul Laura Quinney uses her sensitive, surprising readings of the poet to reveal his innovative ideas about the experience of subjectivity.
This volume comprises a translation of the first post-modernist historical Arabic novella, You as of Today, by the renowned Jordanian writer Tayseer al-Sboul, and his two short stories “Red Indian” and “The Rooster’s Cry.” “Red Indian” and “The Rooster’s Cry” complement You as of Today by providing, with striking transparency and precision, narratives that examine man’s journey to self-discovery through events that are culturally unique, transparent, and at times shocking. This volume is rich with tales of war, love, politics, censorship, and the search for self in a complex and conflicting Arab world at a critical time in its history. In a captivating style consistent with the nature of events narrated in the text, al-Sboul unveils the inner nature of social, political, and religious patterns of life in Arab society with an honesty and skill that renders You as of Today My Homeland a testimony of human experiences that transcend the boundaries of time and place.
In this inaugural volume of the Polish and Polish-American Studies Series, the Polish home emerges in its rich verbal and visual representations and multiple material embodiments, as the discussion moves from the loss of the home during wartime to the Sovietized politics of housing and from the exilic strategies of having a home to the the idyllic evocation of the abodes of the past.
Although, as Bożena Shallcross notes in her introduction, “few concepts seem to have such universal appeal as the notion of the home,” this area of study is still seriously underdeveloped. In essays from sixteen scholars, Framing the Polish Home takes a significant step to correct that oversight, covering a broad range of issues pertinent to the discourse on the home and demonstrating the complexity of the home in Polish literature and culture.