The Self and Consumer Society

By Rami Gabriel.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The intuitive and widespread notion of a dualist self (i.e. the tendency to understand ourselves as consisting of two substances: mind and body) in the West has roots in philosophy, history, and developmental psychology.

I contend that favoring the expressivist dimension of the self as exemplified in the figure of the artist influences society in a transformative manner. On the one hand, it creates a belief that every person has an individual core that may be excavated for its uniqueness, on the other hand, this belief is generally coextensive with an urge towards expression. These characteristics of the self are crucial in the creation and perpetuation of consumer culture.

In this paper I explore how consumer society follows from the shape of the dualist and expressivist modern self.

Keywords: Self, Psychology, Consumerism

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 7, pp.35-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.202MB).

Dr. Rami Gabriel

Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences, Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

Rami Gabriel is a professor of psychology in the Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences at Columbia College Chicago. He holds a Ph.D and M.A. from the Cognitive and Perceptual Sciences Psychology program at University of California, Santa Barbara and a bachelor’s degree from University of California, Irvine in Psychology with a minor in Comparative Literature. His dissertation is deals broadly with unconscious emotional reactions. His main research interests are: consciousness, non-linguistic thought, the self, and other topics that intersect psychology and philosophy. He currently teaches Self and Identity: Mind–Body Questions, the Psychology of consciousness, and Sigmund Freud and his legacy in 20th Century Arts.

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