A trio of new books examine the origins and nature of the fragmented, postmodern American self—while hazarding a look at how the information age will further erode our sense of work, leisure, and place.
How We Got from the Company Man, Family Dinners, and the Affluent Society to the Home Office, BlackBerry Moms, and Economic Anxiety
by Dalton Conley
$24.00 List Price
You don’t have to look far to confirm much of the argument that Dalton Conley advances in Elsewhere, U.S.A. Take me, for instance. I work the same general terrain that Conley—a sociologist at New York University—explores in this sharp, engagingly composed study of the multiple kinds of fragmentation that torment the American self in the post-everything information age. I try to cultivate a critical detachment from the tumult and anomie that shape the pace and texture of a common world increasingly reduced to bitlets of predigested data and untethered instant communication.
Yet as I nod in knowing recognition before Conley’s detailed indictment of the protean, postmodern American self, I realize I’m not exactly part of the solution. There is, for example, the device (a MacBook Pro) on which I am taking notes
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