The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life

Kenneth J. Gergen, Author Basic Books $24.95 (295p) ISBN 978-0-465-07186-9
``Social saturation'' is Gergen's term for ordinary people living with constant change, bombarded by electronic messages, open to a vast range of personal relationships. Under this sensory assault, the self as a known entity breaks down and the post-modern woman or man, cast adrift in a world of limitless possibilities, advances from the ``pastiche personality'' to the energy vortex of the ``relational self'' (``the relationship replaces the individual as the center of human action''). This dizzying scenario is anchored by a discussion of ``self-reflective'' movies and TV shows (Woody Allen, David Letterman ) , coalescing artistic genres, anthropological comparisons, deconstructivism, with examples drawn from popular culture. Swarthmore psychology professor Gergen touches raw nerves, scrutinizing unmoored selves naked to experience in this highly stimulating, mind-expanding original work which dusts away the cliches surrounding that tiresome phrase, ``the post-modern condition.'' (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-465-07185-2
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