In our turbulent world of global flows and digital transformations pervasive identity crises and self-reinvention have become increasingly central to everyday life. In this fascinating book, Anthony Elliott shows how global transformations – the new electronic economy, digital worlds, biotechnologies and artificial intelligence - generatesa metamorphosis across the force-field of identities today.
Identity Troubles documents various contemporary mutations of identity – from robotics to biomedicine, from cosmetic surgery to digital lives – and considers their broader social, cultural and political consequences.
Elliott offers a synthesis of the key conceptual innovations in identity studies in the context of recent social theory. He critically examines accounts of "individualization", "reflexivity", "liquidization" and "new maladies of the soul" – situating these in wider social and historical contexts, and drawing out critical themes. He follows with a series of chapters looking at how what is truly new in contemporary life is having profound consequences for identities, both private and public. This book will be essential reading for undergraduate students in sociology, cultural studies, political science, and human geography. It offers the first comprehensive overview of identity studies in the interdisciplinary field of social theory.
A compelling and original analysis of the impact of the digital revolution upon everyday life, the self and the body - Anthony Giddens, House of Lords and the London School of Economics, UK
Anthony Elliott is one of the foremost scholars on identity. In this new book, he builds on his previous work by taking into account the significant changes in this new century of modes of constructing and performing identity. This book is theoretically sophisticated, but Elliott writes in such an accessible and interesting way that readers will find themselves learning much about the complexity of contemporary issues, problems and practices of identities. -Deborah Lupton, Centenary Research Professor News & Media Research, University of Canberra, Australia
A really exciting and comprehensive dissection of many different identity troubles in an accelerating, trans-human world on the move - a world of invention, celebrity and makeover. – Professor John Urry, Distinguished Prof of Sociology and Co-Director Institute for Social Futures, Lancaster University, UK
Table of Contents
Introduction: Identity Troubles Part I: Theories of Identity 1.Identity, Individualism, Individualization: Three versions of the self, with Charles Lemert 2. The Theory of New Individualism 3. Identity Weakened? The reinvention of imagination in the age of globalization 4. Experimental Worlds: On posthuman identity Part II: Practices of Identity 5.Accelerated Identity: Five theses on the self, with Eric L. Hsu 6. Drastic Plastic: Identity in the age of makeover 7. New Global Elites: On new individualist arts of escape 8. Digital Lives, Miniaturized Mobilities and Identity 9. DIY Self-Design: Experimentation Across Global Airportswith David Radford
About the Author
Anthony Elliott is Director of the Hawke Research Institute and Executive Director of the Hawke EU Centre for Mobilities, Migrations and Cultural Transformations, where he is Research Professor of Sociology at the University of South Australia.