New Identities, New Individualism

Authored by: Eric L. Hsu

Routledge Handbook of Identity Studies

Print publication date:  June  2011
Online publication date:  April  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415555586
eBook ISBN: 9780203869710
Adobe ISBN: 9781135196516


 Download Chapter



At least since the early modern era, the concept of individualism has been extolled within social theory as contributing new and significant understandings of identity. This is especially the case in recent times. Here, research on individualism has been used to track broader social developments and changes. But what exactly does individualism connote and why has it received so much attention? Why have authors as far ranging as Alexis de Tocqueville, Anthony Giddens, Stephen Lukes, Anthony Elliott and Charles Lemert devoted so much time to its study and what do they each have to tell us? This chapter seeks to address such questions by offering a broad overview of how individualism has been explored in both classical and contemporary social theory through an investigation of its historical and varied meanings. In doing so, it ultimately argues that the recent introduction of a temporal dimension has been a major breakthrough in how individualism has come to be understood.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.