• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

`Ross Abbinnett brings a keen and subtle philosophical mind to bear on themes and debates that have become commonplace in sociology. This is a sinuously written book which casts new light on pressing contemporary issues. It is required reading for everyone who wants to think seriously and with an open mind about the terrain of the present' - Keith Tester, Professor of Sociology, University of Portsmouth This incisive and timely book provides a concise and reliable guide to the debate on modernity and postmodernity. In particular the work of Lyotard, Beck, Bauman, Baudrillard, Giddens, Jameson and Derrida is critically reviewed. Culture and Identity provides: a thorough and accessible discussion of the main themes in the modernity-postmodernity debate; a shrewd and penetrating account of how these themes address everyday life; a novel account of how technology is altering our perceptions of the `human'; and a balanced account of the hope for radical politics and radical critique to correct the excesses of capitalism. What emerges most forcefully from the book is the error of dismissing postmodernism as a self-indulgent and ultimately, dangerous piece of ideology. Abbinnett provides a pertinent reminder of the continuing importance of the themes and challenges raised in the `postmodern moment'.

Introduction
Introduction
I

Why are the ideas of culture and identity important, and why do they demand our attention at the beginning of the twenty-first century? Well, to begin with, they are not simply abstract, philosophical constructions; for the ‘self who participates in everyday social interaction can do so only through its recognition of certain cultural norms, values and ideals. The ‘I’ who will be the focus of my analysis, therefore, is not the ‘existential’ being who is permanently embroiled in questions of authenticity: rather, it is the self that emerges through the conflicts and negotiations which define the realm of human culture. In a sense, then, the whole of the discussion that will take place in the book concerns the relationship between the self, conceived as ...

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