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Psychological Studies

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 258–265 | Cite as

The Self: Cohesive and Fragmented, Elusive and Kaleidoscopic

  • Neil AltmanEmail author
  • Jillian M. Stile
Review Article

Abstract

In this paper, we discuss processes of self-development in the contemporary context of rapid cultural change and social/vocational mobility. People must make and remake themselves continuously as technology evolves; education must be life-long to prepare people for the fading of long-term jobs and the emergence of short-term consultancies. Traditional and stable cultural forms and mores rapidly give way to flexible practices in relationships and in work life. We focus on social media, particularly Snapchat, to illustrate how identities have come to be formed only for the immediate present in a visual medium. Claude Lanzmann’s refusal to include archival footage of the Jewish Holocaust in his film Shoah is a precedent for a timeless approach to history that recognizes the past only by its reflection in the present. We compare this notion to the psychoanalytic idea of transference, in which the personal past is understood to exist, to all intents and purposes, only in the present moment of the analytic relationship. This way of thinking allows us to orient ourselves to a cultural world in which the history of the self is sedimented into its immediately present manifestation.

Keywords

Fragmented self Identity Social media 

Notes

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Copyright information

© National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Human StudiesAmbedkar University of DelhiDelhiIndia
  2. 2.Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and ResearchNew YorkUSA

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