The Protean Self

Human Resilience in an Age of Fragmentation

Robert Jay Lifton

The Protean Self
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Robert Jay Lifton

272 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1993
Paper $22.50 ISBN: 9780226480985 Published November 1999
"We are becoming fluid and many-sided. Without quite realizing it, we have been evolving a sense of self appropriate to the restlessness and flux of our time. This mode of being differs radically from that of the past, and enables us to engage in continuous exploration and personal experiment. I have named it the 'protean self,' after Proteus, the Greek sea god of many forms."—from The Protean Self

"A fascinating and appealing book. . . . As he revises the psychology of the self, Dr. Lifton is subtle, even profound, in drawing a line between multiplicity and fragmentation. To those who are nostalgic for the age of the unitary ego, his message is that it is better to be fluid, resilient and on the move than to be firm, fixed, self-assured and settled. To those who worry that the post-modern age is an age of shattered selves, dissociative states, multiple personality disorders and identity diffusion, Dr. Lifton brings the good news that discontinuity can be a mirror of reality, and the standard for a reasonable life."—Richard A. Shweder, New York Times

"Lifton has challenged the conventional social-scientific wisdom of the last half century. . . .He has called attention to the emergence of a new form of self and considered it in a bold and imaginative light."—Howard Gardner, Boston Book Review
Contents
Preface
1. The Changing Psychological Landscape
2. History and the Self
3. America, the Protean Nation
4. Odd Combinations
5. Sources of Flux and Form
6. Poise and Equipoise
7. Enduring Connections
8. Life Stories
9. The Fundamentalist Self
10. The Dark Side
11. The Protean Path
Notes
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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