Sunday, June 20, 2010

Anthony Giddens: Modernity and Self-Identity

No doubt soap operas, and other forms of entertainment too, are escapes - substitutes for real satisfactions unattainable in normal social conditions. Yet, perhaps more important is the very narrative form they offer, suggesting models for the construction of narratives of the self. Soap operas mix predictability and contingency  by means of formulae which, because they are well known to the audience, are slightly disturbing but at the same time reassuring. They offer mixtures of contingency, reflexivity and fate. The form is what matters rather than the content. In these stories one gains a sense of reflexive control over life circumstances, a feeling of a coherent narrative which is reassuring balance to difficulties in sustaining the narrative of the self in actual social situations (p. 199).

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