Ours is the era of "reinvention". From psychotherapy to life coaching, from self-help manuals to cosmetic surgery and from corporate rebranding to urban redesign: the art of reinvention is inextricably interwoven with the lure of the next frontier, the breakthrough to the next boundary – especially boundaries of the self.
In this new, updated edition of this remarkable book, Anthony Elliott examines "reinvention" as a key buzzword of our times. Through a wide-ranging and impassioned assessment, Elliott unmasks the ever-increasing globalization of reinvention – from reinvention gurus to business reinvention, from personal makeovers to corporate rebrandings. In doing so, he undertakes a serious if often amusing consideration of contemporary reinvention practices, including super-fast weight-loss diets, celebrity makeovers, body augmentations, speed dating, online relationship therapies, organizational restructurings, business downsizings and many more.
The second edition of Reinvention includes a new chapter on the digital revolution and artificial intelligence, which situates reinvention within the context of technological automation. There is also a discussion of how the Covid-19 global pandemic has impacted today’s cultures of reinvention. In addition, there is a new concluding chapter in which the author develops further his theoretical account of the nature of reinvention societies.
This absorbing book will continue to be the ideal introduction to reinvention for students and general readers alike. Reinvention offers a provocative and radical reflection on an issue (sometimes treated as trivial in the public sphere) that is increasingly politically urgent in terms of its personal, social and environmental consequences.
Table of Contents
Introduction: the rise of reinvention
1. The reinvention of bodies
2. The reinvention of persons
3. The reinvention of careers
4. The reinvention of corporations
5. Networks of reinvention
6. The reinvention of places
7. Reinvention after AI
Conclusion: the reign of reinvention
Anthony Elliott is Executive Director of the Hawke EU Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at the University of South Australia, where he is Dean of External Engagement and Research Professor of Sociology. He is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Senior Member of King’s College, Cambridge, and SuperGlobal Professor of Sociology (Visiting) at Keio University, Japan. He is the author and editor of many books in social theory, including most recently Identity Troubles (2016), The Culture of AI (2019) and Concepts of the Self (2020).
"Elliott makes a lot of interesting points and connections. His mind works in intriguing ways."
- LOS ANGELES TIMES
"Elliott is to be praised for turning a question frequently trivialized by media commentators and critics into one that constitutes a serious subject for cultural sociology."
- CULTURAL SOCIOLOGY
"Reinvention offers up a rich, detailed exploration of the world of reinvention. What Elliott manages to do is make sense of the matter-of-factness of this culture and bring some perspective to how we got here."
- JOURNAL OF TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION
"An informative and frequently entertaining account showing how corporations strive to reinvent their markets, organizational structure and culture... An informative introduction which should provoke a great deal of discussion."
- THE HEDGEHOG REVIEW
Watch to learn more about key themes of this Second edition including contemporary reinvention practices, a new chapter on the digital revolution and artificial intelligence and a discussion of how the Covid-19 global pandemic has impacted today’s cultures of reinvention.