Narcissism and Neo-Liberalism : Work, Leisure, and alienation in an era of consumption

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Loisir et Societe, 2007, 30 (2), pp. 489 - 510
Issue Date:
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The purpose of this paper is to trace some of the links between neo-liberalism, narcissism and the influence of work, leisure and consumer culture on self-identity. By examining narcissism as an instrument of personality and social psychological analysis, we investigate the ways in which self-identity in neo-liberal societies is constructed and fulfilled through interactions with the marketplace, promoting self-interest and success in the form of wealth, admiration and bodily perfection. It is our contention that this process creates narcissistic identities, which attempt to defend the self against the degradation of work in neo-liberal societies, and where anxiety, emptiness and isolation are converted into pleasure and healing through leisure consumerism. In the final analysis we explore some of the links between narcissistic work and leisure, and psychological distress and disorders. © 2008 Presses de l’Université du Québec.
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