An emerging sociological approach to the self reflects new emphases on power, reflexivity, and social constructionism. The significance of power in shaping the self is central to a new scholarship associated with Foucault. This body of work offers an important corrective to traditional sociological orientations associated with Mead and symbolic interactionism. The principle of reflexivity is at the core of the Meadian tradition and provides a pragmatic foundation for understanding agency and political action missing from much of the new scholarship. The principle of social construction is common to both new and traditional sociological approaches to the self and guides most recent empirical analyses. Promising avenues of research are evident in work that explores the sociological context of self-construction, the social resources employed in the construction process, and the growing importance of nonhuman objects in self-construction. The limitation of scholarship that overemphasizes the psychological products of self-construction is also examined.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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