Introduction: Chinese Modernity and the Individual Psyche

Andrew Kipnis

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The topics of modernity and individualism have a long and rich history in Western social theory. Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Georg Simmel, Michel Foucault, Anthony Giddens, Ulrich Beck, Zygmaunt Bauman, and Nikolas Rose have all written at length about them. Needless to say, what constitutes modernity, individualism, individuation, and the individual psyche are multifaceted and contested matters; more controversial still are the links between what is referred to by these signs, that is, whether contemporary processes of what is often called individualization are best depicted as arising in capitalism and the Protestant reformation (Weber 1992; 1978), industrialization and nation building (Durkheim 1960; 1973; 1979; 1992), urbanization (Simmel 1971), wage labor and capitalist alienation (Marx and Engels 1886), neoliberalism (Rose 1996), second-order or reflexive modernity (Giddens 1991), second modernity or risk society (Beck et al. 1994), liquid modernity (Bauman 2000), or discipline and punishment (Foucault 1979). Summaries and syntheses of theories regarding individualism and individuation are almost as common as original writings on the topic itself, and I could not possibly attempt another one here. 1 Rather, by citing the diversity of social theorists who have written about this topic, I want to begin by pointing out that something about the structure of feeling surrounding the individual in modern societies has engendered reflection from a broad range of social theorists.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationChinese Modernity and the Individual Psyche
    Editors Andrew B. Kipnis
    Place of PublicationNew York, USA
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd
    ISBN (Print)9781137268952
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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