cover image The Future of the Self: Inventing the Postmodern Person

The Future of the Self: Inventing the Postmodern Person

Walter Truett Anderson, Author, Walt Anderson, Author Putnam Publishing Group $24.95 (287p) ISBN 978-0-87477-881-6

It is Anderson's audacious thesis that a ""global identity crisis"" is breaking down the sense of personal self once experienced by millions of people as a stable entity. From the late 1960s onward, he contends, a postmodern self has emerged, a view of people as open systems ever seeking new challenges and information, and welcoming change in a mobile, multicultural, media-rich civilization. Political scientist Anderson (Reality Isn't What It Used to Be) has produced a stimulating, wide-angled inquiry into the sources of postmodern identity--work, jobs, consumerism, economic globalization, family, fragmenting interpersonal relations, the computer revolution--and how these forces are compelling many individuals to construct multiple selves, to seek out unconventional lifestyles or career paths, to be more flexible. His penetrating survey of a host of phenomena--cyberspace, multiple personality disorder, famous impostors, outing and secret homosexuality, bioethical issues, cognitive research on memory--fleshes out his investigation of how people define who and what they are. His argument that personal enlightenment is achievable by Westerners through rational thought and openness to experience makes this a challenging self-help manual of a high order. (Jan.)