The Playing Self: Person and Meaning in the Planetary by Alberto Melucci

By Alberto Melucci

During this groundbreaking ebook, influential cultural sociologist Alberto Melucci delves deeper into questions on the self as either a mental and sociocultural entity, really within the context of an international society for which details has develop into a easy source. He bills for the self as a website of hugely subjective and intimate reports, resembling crying, giggling and loving, and on the subject of social structural dynamics, via extra impersonal studies, corresponding to the adventure of time, and hyperlinks of the self to politics.

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We can no longer rely on the certainty of the end-directedness of time - the notion that modernity fed with its myths of progress and revolution. We, the bewildered witnesses of the demise of the great stories of salvation, are haunted by our new destiny of choice. To cope with the possible both seductive and threatening to us, we are compelled to assume all the risks that go with decision-making (of which catastrophe, nuclear or environmental, is the extreme image and metaphor). The paradox of choice Choosing is the inescapable fate of our time.

This in turn sets in motion an ambivalent process which may increasingly medicalize and fragment mental illness, and which could terminate in a disregard for Needs, identity, normality 39 the relational and social dimension of mental disorder and the actual suffering of the individual. A widespread network of specialized services may provide a more effective and focused care, but it might adversely affect a ready labelling of any behaviour which does not conform to the dominant social rules. It may substitute the sick person's real social bonds as a member of the community with medical and professionalized relations internal to the system of welfare services: it may transfer psychological malaise and emotional trouble away from the realm of ordinary human experience to the domain of medical care.

The word 'identity' itself is inadequate to express this change; we should instead talk of identization to express the processual, self-reflexive, and constructed manner in which we define ourselves. Continuing however to use the term in its customary sense, we may speak of identity as the ability to recognize as ours the effects of our actions, and therefore as the ability to attribute these effects to ourselves. Thus defined, identity presupposes, first, that we are able to reflect on ourselves.

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