Tribulations Of The Self (sociology)

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What constitutes the 'tribulations of the self' in contemporary society, according to Anthony Giddens? Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.This essay will seek an explanation of what constitutes the 'tribulations of the self' according to Anthony Giddens (1991). In the first part of this paper, I discuss some central ways language has been viewed focusing the review on social constructivist writings as well as those stemming from the study of human development.

In the second part of this paper, I discuss data that leads to the reconsideration of aspects of the language - selfhood interface. I conclude by suggesting some future avenues of research.First the essay will outline the various tribulations that Giddens describes in 'Modernity and Self-identity' (1991).A tribulation of the self is a test or trial for the self, that involves some degree of severity. Many of these tribulations that Giddens outlines are to do with the anxieties brought about by different aspects of life and how the individual deals with them.The first tribulation that Giddens examines is the influence of risk and doubt. Feelings of anxiety arise when the individual doubts or takes risks. Such anxieties may be reduced by adhering to a faith or religion. Often these will dictate a certain lifestyle that either reduces doubt and risk or allows the individual to think about them less (Giddens, 1991).

This was certainly the case in pre-modernity. Today more anxiety arises with the awareness that there are several possibilities and choices to do with decisions about life. Anxieties caused by risk may be more often caused by the risk calculations than the risks them selves (Giddens, 1991). Risk taking is an important part of life, people take risks every day and some become so much part of a routine that they appear no longer to be a risk. There are certain risks that are beyond our immediate control.

Such as 'ecological disaster, nuclear war or the ravaging of humainity by as yet unanticipated scourges' (Giddens, 1991. p 183). Those who spend all their time worrying about such things are not considered normal yet they are sources of anxiety (Giddens, 1991). Among other things there is awarness of high consequence risks and the notion that 'things go wrong' (Giddens, 1991. P182) are going to cause anxiety in every day life.

The next tribulation Giddens examines is 'ontological...

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...or town. Through mediation we are informed of day to day events across the other side of the globe. According to Giddens (1991, p 188):'the appropriation of mediated information follows pre-established habits and obeys the principle of the avoidance of cognitive dissonance.' Most of the mediated information is accepted without question.

In avoiding this questioning of the information one is remaining protected from the outside world and thus maintaining ontological security (Giddens, 1991). In this world we live in Giddens makes some direct comaprisons which are the root of tensions. The first dilemna is 'unification versus fragmentation'. Modernity fragments as well as unifying. In traditional society fragemntation was not seen as such a problem. Fragmentation of the self is the division of the self into several selves.

This may come from different presentations of the self that may be used upon meeting with different people. Part of the problem that causes tension and anxiety is that a person maybe more aware of 'the debate over global warming that with why the tap in the kitchen leaks.' (Giddens, 1991, p189). Tasks at hand may be more obscure than large scale global events.
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