© 2019

From Self to Selfie

A Critique of Contemporary Forms of Alienation

  • Angus Kennedy
  • James Panton
  • Make sense of the transformations of key, historical models of selfhood, analysing and challenging the possibilities that these bring to the process of self-formation

  • Opens up a much needed discussion on an area that has recently been largely neglected, but clearly requires renewed reflection given the nature of and the pace of current transformations of subjectivity in public and private life

  • Brings together a mutlidisciplinary collection of high profile academics and social commentators


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Part I

  3. Part II

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 103-103
    2. Tim Black
      Pages 105-128
    3. Claire Fox
      Pages 167-192
    4. Frank Furedi
      Pages 193-206
    5. Angus Kennedy
      Pages 207-223
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 225-228

About this book


This edited collection charts the rise and the fall of the self, from its emergence as an autonomous agent during the Enlightenment, to the modern-day selfie self, whose existence is realised only through continuous external validation. 

Tracing the trajectory of selfhood in its historical development - from the Reformation onwards -  the authors introduce the classic liberal account of the self, based on ideas of freedom and autonomy, that dominated Enlightenment discourse. Subsequent chapters explore whether this traditional notion has been eclipsed by new, more rigid, categories of identity, that alienate the self from itself and its possibilities: what I am, it seems, has become more important than what I might make of myself.

These changing dynamics of selfhood – the transition From Self to Selfie - reveal not only the peculiar ways in which selfhood is problematized in contemporary society, but equally the tragic fragility of the selfie, in the absence of any social authority that could give it some security.


Eclipse of the self neo-liberalism technological dependency identity politics Institute of Ideas Autonomy Enlightenment selfhood

Editors and affiliations

  • Angus Kennedy
    • 1
  • James Panton
    • 2
  1. 1.West SussexUK
  2. 2.Magdalen College SchoolOxfordUK

About the editors

Angus Kennedy is Convenor of the Battle of Ideas (boi) educational initiative, The Academy.


James Panton is Associate Lecturer in Philosophy at the Open University, and Head of Politics at Magdalen College School in Oxford, UK.

Bibliographic information