The quest for authenticity in the west – negotiating the self in late modern cultures

Osbaldiston, Nicholas (2010) The quest for authenticity in the west – negotiating the self in late modern cultures. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Across western culture in the late modern era a number of phenomena have emerged that seek to challenge mainstream consumer capitalism and its effects on everyday lifestyles. Two of these movements labelled as Seachange (Amenity Migration) and Downshifting have grown steadily in popularity within the public sphere and also academic discourse. In this thesis these phenomena are investigated further using a Durkheimian platform for theoretical interrogation. It is argued that while previous research accomplishes much in the investigation of Seachange and Downshifting, there is a significant gap in theoretical explanation and synthesis that requires filling. Thus in this research, it is argued that the concept of self-authenticity assists in the fulfilment of this aim. It is shown here that authenticity guides the construction, negotiation and experience of the phenomena which serves to authenticate the self. It is further argued however that Downshifting and Seachange reflect a wider theme of the self where the individual seeks protection from the profane impacts of advanced capitalism. Subsequently, the thesis aims not only to reveal the underlying principles which feed each phenomenon, but also relate them back to a wider cultural narrative of the sacred self.

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ID Code: 33232
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Kendall, Gavin & Bean, Clive
Keywords: social and sociological theory, cultural sociology, downshifting, seachange, slow movements, authenticity, the self, durkheimian studies, simmelian studies, place, time, cultivation, self-help narratives
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 22 Jul 2010 23:26
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2017 14:39

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