Toward a transindividual self: a study in social dramaturgy
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A book that examines the process of performing the self, distinctive for the formation of the self in Western neoliberal societies in the 21st century. It approaches the self from a transdisciplinary angle where political and cultural anthropology, performance studies and dramaturgy intersect. Starting from their concern with the crisis of the social, which coincides with the rise of individualism, Cvejić and Vujanović critically untangle individualist modes of performing the self, such as possessive, aesthetic, and autopoietic individualisms. However, their critique does not make for an argument for collectivism as a socially more viable alternative to individualism. Instead, it confronts them with the more fundamental problem of ontogenesis: how is that which distinguishes me as an individual formed in the first place? This question marks a turning point in the study, where it steps back into the process of individuation, prior to, and in excess of, the individual. The process of individuation, however, encompasses biological, social, and technological conditions of becoming whose real potential is transindividual, or more specifically, social transformation. A ‘theater of individuation’ (Gilbert Simondon) captures the dramaturgical stroke by which the authors investigate social relations (like solidarity and de-alienation) in which the self actualizes its transindividual dimension. This epistemic intervention into ontegenesis allows them to expand the horizon of transindividuation in an array of tangible social, aesthetic and political acts and practices. As with every horizon, the transindividual may not be closely at hand; however, it is certainly within reach, and the book encourages the reader to approach it.