The course will centre on the analysis of some of the most important modern and contemporary perceptions of the social self in Western societies, starting from 1492 and the discovery of the “other” in the Americas. The selection of readings focuses on the examination of the characteristics and distinguishing features of the varied conceptions of social self articulated – among others – by liberalism, Marx, Freud and by the advocates of nationalism.
Special attention will be dedicated to the XXth century. With the “revolutions” of psychoanalysis, the feminist critique, the liberation movements of 1968, and after the huge impacts produced by mass media and technological inventions – which followed World War II -, the idea of social self changed dramatically. Therefore, on the basis of some well known essays of mainstream North-American sociology, of classics of the “new Left” – such as Marcuse and Debord -, and of the work of Baudrillard, in the second part of the course there will be a critical analysis of the differences produced in human sciences with respect to the “self”.