This accessible and assured book offers readers a new take on the central question of the relation between the individual and society. It offers a thorough, informed and critical guide to the field. It demonstrates how global economic and employment structures, neo-liberal discourse, the role of emotion, irrationality, and ambiguity are factors that impact upon the shape and resilience of the self.

The Narcissistic Self

The narcissistic self

The introduction of the concept of narcissism counts among Freud's most magnificent discoveries, although psychoanalytic theory has still not proved quite equal to it.

(Adorno, 1968 [1955]: 88)

To pursue the psychological and social relations of narcissism is to enter a swamp.

(Kovel, 1980: 88)

Critical Theory and Psychoanalysis

Critical theory has long sought to forge psychoanalysis and marxism into a productive dialectic to elucidate the forms of subjectivity possible in late-capitalist societies. One of the most important fundamentals to have emerged from the development of psychoanalysis in object-relations approaches and beyond is the one underpinning this book, that changes in social environment and self-identity are interwoven.

Contemporary schools of psychodynamic thought thus provide a ‘conceptual framework for appreciating the interpenetration of external experience with internal ...

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