Tribulations Of The Self (sociology)

This essay has a total of 1060 words and 5 pages.

Tribulations of the Self (sociology)


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 security, anxiety, and the sequestration of experience' (1991. p 183). Ontology is the science of being therefor ontological security is the security of being, the maintenance of identity and the self. This would cause anxiety and result in the withdrawal from certain experiences/ activities to maintain the ontology. The latter describing the sequestration of experience.

One of the main threats to this is the notion of globalisation and everyone being caught up in it. Losing a sense of place and identity due to the change in lifestyle and other aspects feel beyond our control.

This involves exposure to crisis situations. Giddens (1991, p 184) says that:
'a "crisis" exists whenever activities concerned with important goals in life of an individual or a

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