The concept of Identity Crisis came into usage in the 1940s and it has continued to dominate the cultural zeitgeist ever since. In his exploration of the historical origins of this development, Frank Furedi argues that the principal driver of the ‘crisis of identity’ was and continues to be the conflict surrounding the socialisation of young people. In turn, the politicisation of this conflict provides a terrain on which the Culture Wars and the politicisation of identity can flourish. Through exploring the interaction between the problems of socialisation and identity, this study offers a unique account of the origins and rise of the Culture Wars.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Chapter 1: The Identity Labyrinth
    1. A surprisingly new phenomenon
    2. The changing perceptions of identity
    3. Identity: a problem of normativity
  3. Chapter 2: Before Identity Crisis Was Given a Name
    1. Finding one’s place
    2. The discovery of adolescence
    3. Why was adolescence invented?
    4. Slowing down the transition to adulthood
    5. The institutionalisation of adolescence
  4. Chapter 3: The Cultural Contradictions of Adulthood
    1. Why was adulthood not discovered?
    2. The devaluation of adulthood
    3. Transition to what?
  5. Chapter 4: Identity, Socialisation and Its Tenuous Link with the Past
    1. The problematisation of socialisation
    2. Loss of the sense of the past
    3. The fetishisation of change
    4. Discontinuity of culture
    5. What to transmit? The problem of normativity
  6. Chapter 5: Socialisation and Its Counter-Cultural Impulse
    1. Social engineering
    2. Socialisation − a site for cultural contestation
    3. Targeting culture
  7. Chapter 6: Quest for Moral Authority
    1. The quest for authority
    2. The re-engineering of the normative foundation of society
    3. Displacing the political
    4. Backlash against moral engineering
  8. Chapter 7: Inventing Authoritarian Personalities
    1. The pathology of socialisation
    2. Identity crisis and its relationship to the professionalisation of socialisation
    3. Politics of prevention
  9. Chapter 8: Towards a New Personhood
    1. From character to personality
    2. Cultural critique masquerading as diagnosis
    3. The validated child
    4. The re-engineering of personhood
  10. Chapter 9: Cultural Turn to Identity
    1. The generational culture gap
    2. Politicisation of identity
    3. Adversary becomes elite culture
    4. The politicisation of validation
    5. Validated personhood and the devaluation of moral agency
  11. Conclusion: Awareness as Its Own Cause
    1. Becoming an ideology
    2. Awareness as its own cause
  12. Bibliography
  13. Index