The Woodrow Wilson Center Press

What People are Saying

“The magic of Hankiss’s exposition is found in his capacity to elevate the small things into their larger, sometimes cosmic symbolic meanings. His style is that of a virtuoso, often playful, almost always insightful and convincing. He is a shrewd observer and interpreter of life.”—Neil Smelser, University of California, Berkeley

“Offers an extensive overview of the psychological and philosophical literature concerning the self.”—Ulrich Muhe, Metapsychology

“A surprisingly entertaining as well as revealing examination of consumer habits essential to any college-level collection strong in sociology.”—Bookwatch

“A nuanced portrait of the search for identity and significance in the consumer age.”—Christina Simko, Culture

“Draws an interesting and balanced parallel between the dawn of modernity in the Renaissance and the postmodern age of consumerism.”—Veronika Koller, Discourse Studies

Chapter List


Introduction: Trivialities Are Not Trivial

Part One: The Self in Everyday Life 
1. The Morning Reconstruction of the Self
2. The Reconstruction of the World
3. The Self in the Public Space
4. The Limits and Freedom of Self-Construction
5. The Self at Work
6. The Self and the Articulation of Time
7. The Self at Home

Part Two: The Self in the Consumer Age
8. The Self in a Changing World
9. “Proletarian Renaissance”
10. The Self in a Syncretic Age
11. The Self and the Intensity of Life
12. The Self in Boundary Situations
13. The Myth of the Self
14. The Self in a Reenchanted World


About Woodrow Wilson Center Press

Woodrow Wilson Center Press publishes books by fellows, other resident scholars, and staff written in substantial part at the Wilson Center.