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Title: The reflexive self : a critical assessment of Giddens's later work on self-identity
Author: Adams, Matt
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2002
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The subject of this thesis is Anthony Giddens's later work on identity. More specifically, it is a critical discussion of self-identity as a reflexive project, which Giddens claims has emerged as a result of recent and radical social upheavals. The initial discussion offers a summary of Giddens's theorisation of recent social change. This is followed by an account of Giddens's generic model of selfhood, a tripartite model which has a long line of development in Giddens's work. I trace out this development, and consider its conceptual origins in psychoanalytical and phenomenological theory. Giddens's conceptualisation of generic selfhood and recent social change in place, the two are then brought together: the remainder of the discussion focuses upon the impact of social transformations on the processes of selfidentity, as understood by Giddens in his later work. I assess Giddens's claim that self-identity has become an increasingly reflexive process. I offer a critical analysis of this claim, drawing from a wide range of recent social and social psychological theory, to pose a number of problems for the theorisation of an increasingly reflexive self-identity. I consider the ways in which the idea of a reflexively formed self-identity is problematised by various issues: the culturally situated nature of modern identity; aspects of self-experience which may compromise a reflexive understanding of the self; and the importance of social relations of power in a theorisation of selfidentity. The thesis's original contribution lies in its critical assessment of Giddens's later theory of identity in terms of both its psychological and sociological implications. As a result of this critical analysis it is argued that Giddens's notion of reflexivity needs to be extensively revised in order to more accurately represent contemporary forms of self-identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Selfhood; Fate; Anthony Giddens