Constructing the Self in a Mediated World
In today's media-saturated world, identities are no longer built solely within the close-knit communities of family, neighborhood, school, and work. Today media are part of our world and therefore play an important role in the formulations of our identities or constructions of self. In a truly postmodern mode, Constructing the Self in a Mediated World not only brings together the usually segregated areas of interpersonal and mass communication but also incorporates works from scholars in sociology, psychology, and women's studies as well. Each essay examines our understanding of self in a different context of mediated culture within a specific framework of interpretive theories such as critical theory, social constructionist theory, and feminism. This volume provides insights into issues of self and identity in contemporary mediated ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
Part I: Introduction
Part II: Self and Media Content
- Chapter 2: All Consuming Selves: Self-Help Literature and Women's Identities
- Chapter 3: Terms of Enmeshment: The Cultural Construction of the Mother-Daughter Relationship
Part III: Self and Media Participation
- Chapter 4: Desperately Seeking Strategies: Reading in the Postmodern
- Chapter 5: “Gilt by Association”: Talk Show Participants' Televisually Enhanced Status and Self-Esteem
- Chapter 6: Mediating Cultural Selves: Soviet and American Cultures in a Televised “Spacebridge”
- Chapter 7: Constructions of Self and other in the Experience of Rap Music
Part IV: Relational Selves and the Mediated Context
- Chapter 8: Technology and the Self: From the Essential to the Sublime
- Chapter 9: Therapy and Identity Construction in a Postmodern World
- Chapter 10: Parallel Lives: Working on Identity in Virtual Space
Part V: The Mediated Self and Inquiry
Inquiries in Social Construction[Page ii]
Kenneth J. Gergen and John Shotter
Inquiries in Social Construction is designed to facilitate across disciplinary and national boundaries, a revolutionary dialogue within the social sciences and humanities. Central to this dialogue is the idea that all presumptions of the real and the good are constructed within relations among people. This dialogue gives voice to a new range of topics, including the social construction of the person, rhetoric and narrative in the construction of reality, the role of power in making meanings, postmodernist culture and thought, discursive practices, the social constitution of the mental, dialogic process, reflexivity in theory and method, and many more. The series explores the problems and prospects generated by this new relational consciousness, and its implications for science and social life.
Also in this series
- The Social Construction of Lesbianism
- Rhetoric in the Human Sciences
edited by Herbert W. Simons
- Texts of Identity
edited by John Shotter and Kenneth J. Gergen
- Collective Remembering
edited by David Middleton and Derek Edwards
- Everyday Understanding: Social and Scientific Implications
edited by Gün R. Semin and Kenneth J. Gergen
- Research and Reflexivity
edited by Frederick Steier
- Constructing Knowledge: Authority and Critique in Social Science
edited by Lorraine Nencel and Peter Pels
- Discursive Psychology
Derek Edwards and Jonathan Potter
- Therapy as Social Construction
edited by Sheila McNamee and Kenneth J. Gergen
- Psychology and Postmodernism
edited by Steinar Kvale
- Constructing the Social
edited by Theodore R. Sorbin and John I. Kitsuse
- Conversational Realities: Constructing Life Through Language
- Power/Gender: Social Relations in Theory and Practice
edited by H. Lorraine Ratke and Henderikus J. Stam
- After Postmodernism: Reconstructing Ideology Critique
edited by Herbert W. Simons and Michael Billig
- The Social Self
edited by David Bakhurst and Christine Sypnowich
Copyright © 1996 by Sage Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Printed in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Main entry under title:
Constructing the self in a mediated world / editors, Debra Grodin, Thomas R. Lindlof.
p. cm.—(Inquiries in social construction; no. 18)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-8039-7011-0 (cloth: acid-free paper).—ISBN 0-8039-7012-9 (pbk.: acid-free paper)
1. Self. 2. Self—Social aspects. 3. Identity (Psychology). 4. Individuality. I. Grodin, Debra. II. Lindlof, Thomas R. III. Series.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
96 97 98 99 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
Sage Production Editor: Astrid Virding
Sage Typesetter: Andrea D. Swanson
Several years ago, when we began this project on self and media, we did so with enthusiasm for this promising area of interdisciplinary investigation. As communication researchers, we observed how our mediated world has challenged assumptions about the self, both academically and in the popular imagination. That's what led to the development of this book. A tip-off for us about the saliency of a project on self and media came by way of nonscholarly responses to our topic. The mention of this book to friends and others who were not academics was met with uniform enthusiasm, indicating to us that issues of self and media need more articulation, not only in scholarly circles but in the culture “outside” of the academy.
Notions of the self as highly contained and stable have historically dominated research approaches in the social sciences, including the study of media. This means that many studies about the human experience of media decontextualize the self and do not emphasize socially constructed aspects of identity and experience. Over the past 20 years, the socially constructed nature of the self has been the premise of many important research projects, but during that time relatively little attention has been given to the relationship between self and media.
Although there has been some significant theoretical work in the area of self and mediated communication, there are still few actual research projects, particularly those involving research participants. This volume is a first attempt to bring together some of the original research that is currently being done in this area. In addition, several chapters are theoretical. In working together as editors, we found ourselves deepening our interests in the topic of self and media, and also recognizing how far-reaching a topic it is. For example, during this project, we both developed a strong interest in issues of mediated communication and community. Many of the pieces we've collected for this volume are not just about the self but about self in relation to others, and in context.
A number of people contributed their expertise toward the development and completion of this book. Conversations with Mick Presnell, Nina Gregg, Andrea Press, and Kelly Coyle helped with the initial development of the project. Autumn Grubb-Swetnam was a sounding board along the way. The University of Louisville (Debra Grodin's academic home when the project began) supported a leave that enabled work on this book, and the Northwest Center for Research on Women at the University of Washington offered an academic affiliation.
Pulling together an edited volume is a social experience. The book evolved as a result of our contributors, and we are grateful for their interest in the project.
[Page viii]Sophy Craze, our editor at Sage, has been a calm and encouraging voice during the course of the project, steering us efficiently and thoughtfully and deeply understanding our purposes. We also thank Astrid Virding at Sage for her guidance during the production process. Our series editor, Ken Gergen, provided needed critiques in the beginning and later phases of our work.
We also want to thank our partners. Bill Mowat provided unstinting support for the project, including computer assistance in difficult moments and a genuine interest in the topic. Joanne Popa Lindlof, as always, gave wonderful advice and encouragement and helped secure the moments and places in which the work got done. We are grateful for their help.
- The Social Construction of Lesbianism
About the Authors