May, Carl and Cooper, Andrew
Review essay: personal identity and social change: some theoretical considerations
Acta Sociologica, 38, (1), . (doi:10.1177/000169939503800106).
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In this paper, we explore some of the points of contact between Giddens' theory of self- identity and late modernity, and the broader constituency of post-modem theories of subjectivity. We take as our focus some recent work by Anthony Giddens, who has set out an account of what it means to live in 'late modernity'. This account, we argue, resonates with a parallel 'post-modern' account of subjectivity. We express reservations about the way in which both late- and post-modern subjects appear in these theoretical accounts to be disconnected from their 'real' social and political contexts. Similarly, we point to the way in which social action is increasingly seen as having broken free from material and political interests. We point to the dangers of losing sight of material conditions and political circumstances in theoretical debates about modernity and post- modernity. Moreover, we set out some broad critical propositions intended to counter this tendency.
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