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Experiencing Identity
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Experiencing Identity


August 1998 | 208 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Ian Craib is one of the best informed and most penetrating commentators on theory and identity working today. Over many years, he has made notalbe contributions to the study of classical social theory, modern social theory, and psychoanalysis. This volume reflects the full range of his interests. The book is organized around the themes of experience and identity. It begins with a critique of existing sociological accounts of identity, arguing that these are incurably cognitive, treating the people that they study as incapable of experiencing and internal life of internal space. The book moves on to consider the implications of this in social theory and human practice. The argument in divided into three parts. Part 1 traces a Utopian notion of experience developed in Western Marxism, through its steady decline over the first half of the 20th century to the understanding of ambivalence emphasized by modern psychoanalysis. Part 2 offers criticisms of ôgrand theoryö in sociology and of less grand forms of sociology, showing how their lack of concern with lived experience creates unrecognized theoretical and empirical problems. In Part 3, these issues are situated in the context of psychoanalysis, suggesting that psychoanalysis can add to our understanding of experience, but shares the dangers of the other approaches. The book closes with a plea for developing the concept of internal psychic space as a sensitizing concept for sociologists and as a source of personal and political freedom, which has to be protected against theories and practices that would neutralize it. Incisive, compelling, and timely, CraibÆs book will be of interest to students of sociology, social theory, and psychoanalysis.

 
Introduction
Sociology and Identity

 
 
PART ONE: IDENTITY, EXPERIENCE AND POLITICS
 
Lukacs
Experience, Identity and Philosophy

 
 
The Politics of Experience
 
Psychoanalysis, Experience and Politics
The Problem of Ambivalence

 
 
PART TWO: IDENTITY, EXPERIENCE AND SOCIOLOGY
 
Back to Utopia
Giddens and Modern Social Theory

 
 
Goffman
Frame Analysis

 
 
Masculinity and Male Dominance
 
The Sociology of the Emotions
 
Sociological Literature and Literary Sociology
Some Notes on John Berger's G

 
 
PART THREE: IDENTITY, EXPERIENCE AND PSYCHOANALYSIS
 
Freud and Philosophy
 
The Psychodynamics of Theory
 
What's Happening to Mourning?
 
Conclusion
Experiencing Identity

 

`I recommend this book to all readers interested in thinking about the self; I am sure that anyone who reads it will come away with some new ideas' - Therapeutic Communities

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