أفكار وآفاق
Volume 7, Numéro 2, Pages 351-366

Personal Identity And Postmodernism: Between Narcissism And Individualism

Authors : Cheraifia Djihed . Bouhassoun Azzedine .

Abstract

When it comes to identity, Postmodernism offers a more individualistic approach in comparison with the previous literary movements. This had led to the rise of personal identity at the expense of national identity. Some scholars had criticized postmodernism concerning the issue of national identity while others had criticized the lack of restriction of individualism when dealing with personal identity. This concern is based on the belief that individualism may eventually lead to narcissistic attitudes. In their work, The Handbook of Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Theoretical Approaches, Empirical Findings, and Treatments, Campbell, W.K. and Miller, J.D insist that “More individualistic nations and time periods produce more narcissistic cultural products and more individuals who self-report high levels of narcissism”. This means that a culture or a movement with a great focus on individualism may be pushing individuals towards narcissism. “Men’s narcissism” and “human self-love” can be explored by examining what Freud calls the “…barrier that had been arrogantly set up between men and beasts” (Freud 272–3). This paper argues that despite the postmodern focus on individualism regarding personal identity, postmodernism promotes a non-narcissistic attitude towards personal identity while rejecting the notion of the separation of the humans from the beast. Such attitude is manifested in the postmodern works Twilight and New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. This paper aims to investigate the depth of human self-love and the treatment of the beasts as either the “other” or the “self”. It also aims to investigate the effects of postmodern individualism on personal identity.

Keywords

Postmodernism ; Personal identity ; the beasts ; narcissism ; individualism