Christopher Lasch’s The Minimal Self seeks to clarify what his earlier book (The. Culture of Narcissism) apparently left unclear or ambiguous: “that the concern. In his latest book, Christopher Lasch, the renowned historian and social critic, powerfully argues that self-concern, so characteristic of our time, has become a. In “The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations” (), Christopher Lasch described a sea change in the.

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In promoting mass consumption, advertisers like social-science professionals have convinced parents that their children are entitled to the best of everything but that, without expert assistance, parents are helpless to determine what that might be.

Open Preview See a Problem? Scott Hulan rated it really liked it Feb 04, Sep 21, Michael Perkins rated it really seelf it. From psychology to politics, from technology to sociology, he seemed to have assimilated everything that was known about modern society and he re-formulated that knowledge with astounding skill, grace and judgment. Lasch is not a cheery guy, but strangely, this book was a cheering reminder to do more than just survive from day to day.

Aug 25, Cameron Bernard rated it liked it.

Having internalized the social restraints by means of which they formerly sought to keep possibility within civilized limits, they feel themselves overwhelmed by an annihilating boredom, like animals whose instincts have withered in captivity. If not Prometheus or Narcissus, where is the model of a sane culture? Lasch was always a critic of liberalism, and a historian of liberalism’s discontents, but over time his political perspective evolved dramatically.


Freud distinguished between two regulative agencies within the psyche: It can abandon its chief defense against those feelings: Christopher Lasch – – Hastings Center Report 3 1: Promethean values have brought us to the brink of planetary destruction; it is time to temper them with narcissistic ones. In encouraging geographic mobility, it has uprooted families from chrietopher communities and replaced intergenerationally transmitted folk wisdom about child rearing with social-scientific expertise dispensed by professionals.


If survival is the overriding issue, people cyristopher take more interest in cristopher personal safety than in the survival of humanity as a whole.

But, Lasch argues, these things have by and large declined; the result is not a radical extension of political and sexual autonomy but a bureaucratically mediated war of all against all.

Media reporter, reviewer, producer, guest booker, blogger. In an age of images and ideology, however, the difference between reality and fantasy becomes increasingly elusive.

But, outdated over-reliance on Freud’s ego, superego, id makes this a relic. Sign in Create an account.

THE MINIMAL SELF: Psychic Survival in Troubled Times by Christopher Lasch | Kirkus Reviews

But — assuming they suggest a fair comparison between early modern and late modern culture — that they represent progress is less obvious. The infant is pictured as either omnipotent or helplessly persecuted, the parents as either perfectly benevolent or implacably threatening.

The 18th-century belief in straightforward progress modulated to the 19th-century belief in dialectical progress. At the same time, vindictive gods give way to gods who show mercy as well and uphold the morality of loving your enemy. Ocean rated it really liked it Jan 08, Request removal from index. But the psychoanalytic theory of narcissism, like the phenomenon itself, has only recently come into its own; and the historiographies of consumerism, professionalism, the family, and the relation between technology and the labor process are all currently in a heroic phase.


The Minimal Self: Psychic Survival in Troubled Times

Marcus rated it really liked it Aug 20, A follow up to and clarification of Lasch’s more fam I picked this up after it was mentioned in The Baffler’s review of Elizabeth Lunbeck’s ‘The Americanization of Narcissism’ http: In a sweeping but closely argued passage he makes the central link in his complex argument: Subscribe to this site’s feed.

Even so, reading him now after half a century, I find that I probably underestimated his thinking as much as I The Problem With Survival Christopher Lasch was an intellectual hero of my youth.

It undermines their confidence in their capacity to understand and shape the world and to provide for their own needs. He tackles in this book different aspects of society, to show how we are becoming an increasingly isolated peoples, yes there are more of us, but our minds are closing, and he shows us how in the various socio-cultural trends and politico-economic movements and ideologies that had emerged at the time he wrote this book back in A vigorous, tightly unified work, characteristically aware of human needs and the strains in American society that subvert them.

Freudian feminists have put this familiar notion into its most sophisticated form.

It was era in which I went through high school and university. In a word, used by Lasch, the country was beleaguered.