Across sociology and cultural studies in particular, the concept of authenticity has begun to occupy a central role, yet in spite of its popularity as an ideal and philosophical value authenticity notably suffers from a certain vagueness, with work in this area tending to borrow ideas from outside of sociology, whilst failing to present empirical studies which centre on the concept itself. Authenticity in Culture, Self, and Society addresses the problems surrounding this concept, offering a sociological analysis of it for the first time in order to provide readers in the social and cultural sciences with a clear conceptualization of authenticity and with a survey of original empirical studies focused on its experience, negotiation, and social relevance at the levels of self, culture and specific social settings.
'What does it mean to be real�? This is arguably the quintessential question of modern and postmodern times, but one that has been largely neglected by social science. Vannini and Williams’ excellent edited volume zeroes in on this crucial question, bringing together an impressive and diverse group of scholars who examine the nature and multiple facets of authenticity in contemporary social life.' Viktor Gecas, Purdue University, USA 'Vannini and Williams have done an admirable job maintaining the quality and relevance of each paper within the collection, having obviously encouraged their authors to critically advance discussions in the broader field as well as to provide instructive case studies….In terms of delivering both a serious treatment of the concept and being a collection of readings useful for the classroom, Vannini and Williams's collection is satisfying on a number of levels. It clarifies the dimensions and meanings of the concept of authenticity, and explores how it is manifested and maintained in a range of social settings. In doing so, it may offer new material for scholars already interested in authenticity. It may also encourage culture researchers to think about their own work in ways which more explicitly engage the concept of authenticity. Given the range and quality of material and the book's clear division into theoretical, conceptual and empirical components, the collection may also provide helpful material for teaching in undergraduate courses related to identity and the self, cultural production and consumption studies.' Cultural Sociology
Contents: Authenticity in culture, self and society, Philip Vannini and J. Patrick Williams. Part 1 The Value, Concept, and Ideal of Authenticity: Authenticity without a true self, Alessandro Ferrara; Self-authenticity as master motive, Andrew J. Weigert; The importance of insincerity and inauthenticity for self and society: why honesty is not the best policy, Dennis D. Waskul; Ideology and practice of authenticity in punk subculture, Philip Lewin and J. Patrick Williams. Part 2 The Personal Experience and Practice of Authenticity: Authenticity: perspectives and experiences, Alexis T. Franzese; Authenticity as motivation and aesthetic experience, Philip Vannini and Sarah Burgess; The everyday work and auspices of authenticity, Jaber F. Gubrium and James A. Holstein; We wear the mask: subordinated masculinity and the persona trap, Michel Schwalbe; Pop music as a resource for assembling an authentic self: a phenomenological-existential perspective, Joseph A. Kotarba. Part 3 The Interactional Production, Exchange, and Consumption of Authenticity: Consuming authenticity: a paradoxical dynamic in contemporary capitalism, JÃ¶rn Lamla; Saying what we mean; meaning what we say: authentic dialogue in aboriginal communities, Joshua Guilar and Lynn Charman; Performing authentic selfhood in an intentional community, Daphne Holden and Douglas Schrock; Embodying ideologies in tourism: a commemorative visitor book in Israel as a site of authenticity, Chaim Noy; Emotional performances as dramas of authenticity, E. Doyle McCarthy; Alternate authenticities and 9/11: the cultural conditions underlying conspiracy theories, Gary J. Krug; Index.