On the Melancholia of New Individualism

  • Anthony Elliott
Part of the Studies in the Psychosocial book series (STIP)


This essay builds on the theory of “new individualism” to explore its psychosocial ramifications (Elliott and Lemert, 2006, 2009b; Elliott, 2008, 2009, 2010; Elliott and Urry, 2010). I have argued elsewhere that the conditions and consequences of new individualism are especially evident in the new economy of high finance, media and technology industries. “New individualism” penetrates the very core of culture and institutional life, and represents a kind of shorthand for describing various and disparate modalities that shape, and are shaped by, global social transformations. The key institutional drivers of new individualism are (a) continual reinvention, (b) instant change, (c) speed, and (d) short- termism or episodicity. I elaborate this theoretical work by examining the psychic and emotional contours of a life lived in the new individualist fast lane. In so doing I draw on psychoanalysis—in a necessarily partial and restricted way—to focus on the melancholic elements of new individualism.


Multinational Corporation Instant Change Death Drive Fast Lane Lonely Crowd 
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© Anthony Elliott 2014

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  • Anthony Elliott

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