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.

Repositioning Reflexivity

Repositioning reflexivity

Only an ethics or a social science which witnesses suffering is worthy of our energies or our attention.

(Frank, 1991: 64 in Charlesworth, 2000: 11)

Although very different, what the perspectives drawn upon in the preceding chapters share is an account of the processes of self-reflexivity in relation to key social changes. A journey through various imaginings of reflexivity has brought us face-to-face with many of the difficulties and limits involved in theorizing the relationship between self-identity and social change, which can now be summarized.

A common failing in most of the perspectives discussed in previous chapters, with the possible exception of Foucault and some Foucaultian analyses, is their tendency to universalize the self-constituting responses to socio-structural changes; in other words little account is made ...

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