This work addresses the formation and fragmentation of identity in today's postmodern world. Informed by the conceptual convergence in the theories of Durkheim, Peirce, Mead and Lacan, the book surveys the range of 20th-century sociology to deconstruct those favoured nostrums of subjective meaning, personal power and autonomous selfhood that comprise its semantics of agency. Revealed beneath this semantic screen is the triad of pragmatic codes - premodern affiliation, modern calibration and postmodern globalization - that govern the social construction of the self. While the ill-comprehended confluence of these three significant codes in the present world situation can indeed fragment personal identity, their formal structural linkages, as shown in this book, may inform a truly postmodern, globally applicable, science of culture.
Blasco Jose Sobrinho is assistant professor of sociology, University of Cincinnati.