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Concepts of the Self (Key Concepts) Paperback – 6 Aug 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press (6 Aug. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745623689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745623689
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 1.5 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 960,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


This great little book contains everything you wished but did not dare to ask about the meaning of the self one of the thorniest, most contentious, exciting and enraging issues of our times and our lives in these times. To the questions you might have asked or are likely to ask yet, Elliott offers answers that are carefully weighted, balanced and realistic drawing from the vast treasury of sociological insights and moving freely between the variety of complementary even if ostensibly adversary perspectives. Elliott′s book is good to read, to learn and to think with. It helps to understand what it means to have a self and to be oneself an understanding that itself is a foremost condition of both. –– Zygmunt Bauman, Universities of Leeds and Warsaw

‘Anthony Elliott has done it again! No one writing today has quite the range and depth of understanding of self–theory. Elliott writes with confidence, clarity, and great care of all the prominent concepts of self. And no one I know can write so reliably of the classic theorists in the same concise book as the newest queer and postmodern ones. No reader, whether student or scholar, will want to be without this brilliant book.’ – Professor Charles Lemert, Wesleyan University (USA)

‘This is an engaging book. In it Anthony Elliott reassures us that the self is not only alive and well but full of imagination creativity too.’ – Professor Janet Sayers, University of Kent, Canterbury

From the Back Cover

Concepts of the Self is a compelling introduction to contemporary controversies over the self and self–identity in the social sciences. Written by an author of international reputation, the book concentrates mainly on the work of social theorists and cultural analysts who have attempted to place the self in relation to psychological processes, social contexts and historical perspectives. Mead, Freud, Goffman, Foucault, Chodorow, Kristeva and Baudrillard are among the figures covered; the new edition also introduces material on iek. Elliott also connects debates about the self directly to identity politics, the sociology of personal relationships and intimacy, and the politics of sexuality.

The book focuses upon cultural and political issues, and breaks new ground in integrating interdisciplinary perspectives. In analysing debates about the self, Elliott draws extensively on contemporary social and cultural theory. Among the traditions of thought discussed are symbolic interactionism, modern sociology, post–structuralist thought, feminist and queer theory, psychoanalysis, and postmodernism.

Concepts of the Self is an accessible and invaluable introductory text for students in the areas of social and political theory, sociology, social psychology, cultural studies and gender studies.

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Overlooking the garden of their suburban house on a lovely summer's day, a man and woman talk quietly. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is perhaps the best book on the self in social theory I've come accross. Really engaging, comprehensive and daring. I've read some of Elliott's earlier works, and this is his best yet.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 30 July 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is extremely useful for those studying concepts of self and identity. Elliott discusses the main debates on self and identity in sociology, psychoanalysis, philosophy and politics.
Whats most useful is that not only does he point out the important themes of these theories; but he also points out their limitations, who pointed out these limitations and what their answer to these limitations are, thus joining each author to each other and showing how they each got to their viewpoint.
A bit tough on the novice as it is full of field specific language that makes for hard going at times, (remember it spans 4 different fields). That aside, it is a very good way to see who is saying what in self and identity, (plus its relatively short too).
He doesnt go very in depth, treat it as a whirlwind tour of the self.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Secrets of the self explained 13 Oct. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
An Amazing book - easy to read and follow, in a field where too often dense terminology prevails. Elliott's book is first-rate. Highly recommended.
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Social theory of the self 1 Nov. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is quite simply the best book on self-identity and the changing social context of identity that I have read. Simple, elegant and thought-provoking.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
What's in a Self 21 Oct. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Elliott's Concepts of the Self is a beautifully written, carefully reasoned, impassioned plea for a reassessment of the connections between self and culture, identity and politics. Rarely have I read such an author with magisterial command of such interdisciplinary perspectives.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Self-fascination 9 Nov. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The book covers everything on the self from Freud to Foucault. Excellent.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Theory Made Clear 2 Nov. 2002
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is, quite simply, the best theory book around. Period.
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