The Terminal Self: Everyday Life in Hypermodern Times.

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New York

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Living at the dawn of a digital 21st century, most inhabitants of Western societies spend an increasing amount of time interacting at or on multiple terminals, and this constant circulation across online and offline transforms us in complex if still poorly understood ways, blurring our taken-for-granted experiences of time and space, public and private, absent and present, thus challenging our sense of identity and producing a 'terminal' or 'online' self. Inspired by traditional interactionist theory and Goffman’s dramaturgy, this book is guided by the new French hypermodern approach, using examples from everyday life and popular culture to trace the contours of the terminal self. It explores the deterioration of our sensory engagement in face-to-face interactions; the ’hyper-narcissism’ that comes to characterise the project of the self in contemporary society; the short, decontextualized, often faceless and instrumental nature of our terminal interactions with others; the drive for immediate gratification, omnipresence, voyeurism and exhibitionism that comes to shape hypermodern lives; and the sense of panic and urgency that prevails in our responses to an incessant flow of communication. In addition to exploring the emergence of the terminal self, the author proposes strategies for resolving the problematic nature of the ways in which it orients towards the everyday, the body, the self and others.