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The Saturated Self [Paperback]

Gergen
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Jun 1992 0465071856 978-0465071852 Reprint
Today's ever-expanding communications technologies force us to relate to more people and institutions than ever before, challenging the way we view ourselves and our relationships. This powerful and provocative book draws from a wide range of disciplines--from anthropology to psychoanalysis, from film and fiction to literary theory--to explore these profound changes in our understanding of self-identity and their implications for cultural and intellectual life.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint edition (3 Jun 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465071856
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465071852
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Kenneth J. Gergen, Ph.D., is professor of psychology at Swarthmore College. He is the author of, among other works, Toward Transformation in Social Knowledge (1982) and, with co-editor John Shotter, Texts of Identity (1989).

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had just returned to Swarthmore from a two-day conference in Washington, which had brought together fifty scholars from around the country. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What becomes of the overloaded mind? 10 Dec 2009
By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Saturated Self by Kenneth J. Gergen, Basic Books (Perseus); 1991; 2nd edn. 2000; 320 ff.

What becomes of the overloaded mind?
By Howard A. Jones

`The thesis of this book is that the process of social saturation is producing a profound change in our ways of understanding the self.' It is written by a psychologist who is Senior Research Professor at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania.

Gergen's idea is that we are now being subjected to excessive social stimulation, both at work and in our `relaxation' hours by the demands of our work itself and work colleagues, who are continually making greater demands upon us for their satisfaction and professional advance; by our partners and children, who also want to lead full and active lives; and even in the time we set aside for relaxation because commercial enterprise has endeavoured, in its quest for profits, to tempt us with ever more exciting opportunities for enjoyment.

Our self-image is continually under review as new opportunities for work, play and belief present themselves. We are becoming overwhelmed even by the technologies provided for our benefit - telephones, computers, television, CDs, DVDs . . . Video and tape recorders, which are relatively recent inventions, are already obsolete. Instead of real relationships with actual people we have vicarious relationships with characters on our TV screens.

We now have 24-hour radio and television channels and 24-hour shopping. Sunday used to be a day of rest in Christian countries but now is little different from any other day of the week. When the whole of society around you is immersed in such activity, it becomes more difficult to remove yourself from it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible introduction to post-modernism 22 Jun 2005
By Christopher Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
While many books on post-modernism obfuscate themselves in philosophical mumbo jumbo and self-referential exercises, this is a very straightforward introduction to the post-modern condition. It is also a great introduction to social construction, and the idea meaning (including the meaning of our selves) is a socially created truth rather than an absolute. Unlike a lot of books by academics, Gergen has crafeted a very readable book, that I not only learned from but enjoyed immensly.
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bewildered, Breathless and Not Grounded 13 Aug 2001
By Stephen B. Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found this book very interesting to read. I did not find it disturbing or brilliant. Anyone who uses the internet, watches television and videos and has been jet lagged from global travel will find this an accurate account of contemporary post-modern man's global lifestyle It has the same fun reading style and spirit as T.Friedman's "The Lexus and The Olive Tree" but with a psychosocial take rather than an economic social view. This work is not grounded in biological science and the generalizations he does make from quantum science are skewed though standard post-modern mantra as far as I know. Scientists may not relate to nature or reality directly as he argues but they do relate to mathematical inferences about nature that allow them to predict with a high degree accuracy how nature works. Otherise I wouldnt' be writing this on the computer. But then Gergen himself says that the book may be just fiction or invention not a building of ideas on top of ideas. Readers interested in the topic of self-consciousness could balance Gergen's argument with A. Damasio's "The Feeling of What Happens" and G. Edelman's "Bright Air and Brilliant Fire".Both of these works attempt to ground consciousness in the body.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking journey through the modern forces shaping "self" 20 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an excellent book for anyone interested in the forces shaping the concept of "self" in our post-modern society (or for anyone who thinks that he or she is above being shaped!) It is easy to read, very enlightening, and very well documented. I highly recommend it!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible 5 Oct 2009
By June Fernan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is, simply put, an incredible accomplishment which deserves more 5-star reviews. The book is relevant to anyone's life, as it is addressing widespread social phenomena brought on by the internet, television, air travel, and other technologies that are basically taking the obstacles of space and time and reducing them to mere hurdles.

To me, the book treads between sociology and philosophy, as the author creates new terms to explain his ideas. It can be a bit disturbing reading about our society on the path to a "multiphrenic" consciousness, while later on it is pleasant to be reminded of some of the benefits of contemporary life. Gergen often dips back into the how things were in the "face to face" community of the romantic era, or during the times of machine obsessed modernity, for comparisons. As a result, this book teaches you not just about the current state of society, but about where it's been, where it is, and most importantly where it may be headed.

Before I read this book, I only knew "postmodern" as a term to describe anything contemporary. Now I know what it actually is and what causes it. It gives you plenty of things to wonder about and discuss with friends who are also interested. A college student in any related field of study will find this book a handy source for a paper on just about any topic. The first edition was written almost 20 years ago, and it's still very relevant, and will be for a long time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What becomes of the overloaded mind? 5 July 2012
By Dr. H. A. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Saturated Self by Kenneth J. Gergen, Basic Books (Perseus); 1991; 2nd edn. 2000; 320 ff.

`The thesis of this book is that the process of social saturation is producing a profound change in our ways of understanding the self.' It is written by a psychologist who is Senior Research Professor at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania.

Gergen's idea is that we are now being subjected to excessive social stimulation, both at work and in our `relaxation' hours by the demands of our work itself and work colleagues, who are continually making greater demands upon us for their satisfaction and professional advance; by our partners and children, who also want to lead full and active lives; and even in the time we set aside for relaxation because commercial enterprise has endeavoured, in its quest for profits, to tempt us with ever more exciting opportunities for enjoyment.

Our self-image is continually under review as new opportunities for work, play and belief present themselves. We are becoming overwhelmed even by the technologies provided for our benefit - telephones, computers, television, CDs, DVDs . . . Even some relatively recent inventions, such as video and tape recorders, are already obsolete. Instead of real relationships with actual people we have vicarious relationships with characters on our TV screens, or virtual relationships on-line with `friends' on social networking sites.

We now have 24-hour radio and television channels and 24-hour shopping. Sunday used to be a day of rest in Christian countries but now is little different from any other day of the week. When the whole of society around you is immersed in such activity, it becomes more difficult to remove yourself from it. Marriages, close-knit families and lifelong friendships have now become replaceable by transient relationships. In the absence of meaningful human interaction, we are now increasingly attracted to relationships with these material things.

The result has been that many of us are experiencing social exhaustion. Gergen believes that this is a prime factor in the development of the New Age movement, where people are increasingly attracted to eastern mystical philosophies of quietude and reflection. Nostalgia for simpler past times is a feature of this same mind-set, because the dreamy ethos of Romanticism in the 19th century has been replaced by hard-edged scientific and technological realism in the 20th. For the romanticist conception of the self `is a perspective that lays central stress on unseen, even sacred forces that dwell deep within the person, forces that give life and relationships their meaning.' Depressingly, Gergen feels that this process of social saturation is far from complete.

This is a challenging and thought-provoking book. The author says his aim is `to offer insight into current academic debates to those outside the tower.' However, the breadth and depth of this monograph make it best suited to graduate students in a wide range of disciplines - philosophy, psychology, sociology. There are even perceptive comments on Romantic to postmodern art, music and literature. For the non-academic, this level of scholarship may prove intimidating. For those who stay the course, there are copious Notes and an Index at the end of the book.

Making Happy People by Paul Martin
In Praise of Slow by Carl Honore
Making Time: Why Time Seems to Pass at Different Speeds and How to Control It

Howard Jones is the author of The Tao of Holism
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