Identity Construction in Contemporary Culture
McCracken, Grant David
Distribution: World
Publication date: 05/12/2008
Format: Paperback 2 figures
ISBN: 978-0-253-21957-2
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Self reinvention has become a preoccupation of contemporary culture. In the last decade, Hollywood made a 500-million-dollar bet on this idea with movies such as Multiplicity, Fight Club, eXistenZ, and Catch Me If You Can. Self reinvention marks the careers of Madonna, Ani DiFranco, Martha Stewart, and Robin Williams. The Nike ads of LeBron James, the experiments of New Age spirituality, the mores of contemporary teen culture, and the obsession with "extreme makeovers" are all examples of our culture's fixation with change. In a time marked by plenitude, transformation is one of the few things these parties have in common.

Although transformation is widely acknowledged as a defining characteristic of our culture, we have almost no studies on what it is or how it works. Transformations offers the first comprehensive and systematic view. It is an ethnography of the contemporary world.

Author Bio

Grant McCracken is a research affiliate of the Comparative Media Department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is author of Culture and Consumption (IUP, 1990), Culture and Consumption II (IUP, 2005), Flock and Flow (IUP, 2006), The Long Interview, and Plenitude. He lives in Rowayton, Connecticut.


A provocative, original, and thoughtful writer, someone who addresses topics that are central to our culture from a fresh vantage point, and someone who is willing to challenge orthodoxies—right, left, and center—which prevent theorists of other stripes from seeing what's in front of their eyes.

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Table of Contents

Preface: Entertainment Is Dead, Long Live Transformation

Section 1. Self-Transformation in a Popular Culture
Section 2. Traditional Transformations
Section 3. Status Transformations
Section 4. Modern Transformations
Section 5. Postmodern Transformations

Appendix: The Argument in a Single Page