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Title: Narcissism, privatism and social reproduction
Author: McCann, Shaun Adrian
ISNI:       0000 0001 3622 8224
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2001
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When the concept of narcissism was first introduced in 1898 it was perceived to be a wholly psychological phenomenon. More recently however, narcissism has also become an increasingly common subject within sociology. Indeed the extent of this overlap between psychological and sociological uses of the concept is now so great that it is most accurate to see it as a socio-psychological field. The main thrust of this thesis is to draw on the long history of psychological and sociological work in this area in order to argue that the central features of Narcissistic Personality Disorder have become so commonplace that the very structures of contemporary western capitalist social systems are now bound up with the development of narcissistic personality traits. Crucial to this thesis is that even though the theory of narcissism has undergone many revisions it had always been a relational issue in which the object of highest regard is the self. Although the increasing awareness of the significance of the concept is very promising, particularly as narcissistic character traits hold great social potential, the level of interest has also raised a problem. The term 'narcissism' has been used in so many ways, and to describe such a wide variety of personal qualities, that it has arguably lost its clarity. In view of these difficulties, anybody attempting to put forward a new interpretation of the concept must be able to clearly demonstrate how their work fits within the existing debates. Bearing these concerns in mind, this thesis has two overlapping aims. The first of these is taken up in Part I - Narcissism, which is an exegesis of the major psychological theories of narcissism. Particular attention is paid here to the ways in which narcissism is expressed at an individual level. This exegesis then acts as the backdrop for Part II - Privatism, which is a discussion on the trajectory of academic work on privatistic activity. The most significant issues raised in Parts I and II are then drawn together in the Conclusions section, in which the concepts of 'the narcissogenic society' and 'pragmatic narcissism' are raised. The main conclusions of this thesis are that narcissism has become a major ordering principle within capitalist societies, and that the main character traits of narcissistic personality disorder are now being actively encouraged and rewarded. However, overarching these findings is the view that narcissistic character traits are adopted as a conscious and pragmatic response to life within the capitalist system.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Freud; Relationships; Ideological; Myth; Culture