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The War on the West
You and Your Profile
Identity After Authenticity239
More and more, we present ourselves and encounter others through profiles. A profile shows us not as we are seen directly but how we are perceived by a broader public. As we observe how others observe us, we calibrate our self-presentation accordingly. Profile-based identity is evident everywhere from pop culture to politics, marketing to morality. But all too often critics simply denounce this alleged superficiality in defense of some supposedly pure ideal of authentic or sincere expression. This book argues that the profile marks an epochal shift in our concept of identity and demonstrates why that matters. You and Your Profile blends social theory, philosophy, and cultural critique to unfold an exploration of the way we have come to experience the world. Instead of polemicizing against the profile, Hans-Georg Moeller and Paul J. D'Ambrosio outline how it works, how we readily apply it in our daily lives, and how it shapes our values-personally, economically, and ethically. They develop a practical vocabulary of life in the digital age. Informed by the Daoist tradition, they suggest strategies for handling the pressure of social media by distancing oneself from one's public face. A deft and wide-ranging consideration of our era's identity crisis, this book provides vital clues on how to stay sane in a time of proliferating profiles.
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Close readers will also admire the book's overarching theory of identity, which, like many grand theories, is elegant and enticing. . . The authors convincingly argue for identity as an ever-evolving technology and profilicity as its latest, most complex iteration. -- Gloria B. Yu * Los Angeles Review of Books * You and Your Profile is a truly wonderful book that provides a penetrating exploration of today's conceptions of identity. This beautiful work offers powerful insights on the contemporary condition as well as a moving way to think about identity formation. -- Michael Puett, coauthor of <i>The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life</i> There can be no doubt that questions of identity, authenticity, and character take on a completely new meaning in the digital age of social media. Moeller and D'Ambrosio's startling book provides fascinating insights into the global fabrication of a new conception of the self. -- Hartmut Rosa, author of <i>Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity</i> In this illuminating, inventive work of philosophy and social theory, Hans-Georg Moeller and Paul J. D'Ambrosio argue that identity today is less about authenticity (being true to oneself) or sincerity (fulfilling one's roles) than a ceaseless project of curating the profiles by which others see us. Profilicity-the work of winning views, likes, ratings, and followers-has displaced authenticity. Drawing artfully upon Daoist philosophy, German social theory, and astute observations of popular culture, You and Your Profile offers a novel, provocative account of identity for the social media age. -- Michael J. Sandel, author of <i>The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good?</i> What is your profile on social media? More likely, you manage several. Read Moeller and D'Ambrosio for insightful observations about the new problem of curating identity. In contrast to pre-modern sincerity aligning self to external role and modernity's problem of authenticity as expression of the 'true self,' they give us profilicity. -- David Stark, author of <i>The Performance Complex: Competition and Competitions in Social Life</i>
Hans-Georg Moeller is a professor of philosophy at the University of Macau. His Columbia University Press books include The Philosophy of the Daodejing (2006) and The Moral Fool: A Case for Amorality (2009). Paul J. D'Ambrosio is a fellow at the Institute of Modern Chinese Thought and Culture and associate professor of Chinese philosophy and dean of the Center for Intercultural Research at East China Normal University in Shanghai. He is the coauthor, with Hans-Georg Moeller, of Genuine Pretending: On the Philosophy of the Zhuangzi (Columbia, 2017).
Pre-Face 1. The Bigger Picture 2. Profilicity 3. Sincerity 4. Authenticity 5. Identity 6. Sanity 7. Conclusion Postscript Acknowledgments Notes Bibliography Index