Today the United States is a country divided along lines of gender, economic inequality, educational level, and political affiliation. Democrats typically select a different range of matters of serious public concern compared to Republicans. Many Americans describe difficulty in coming to terms with the demands placed on them in their work, communities, and personal lives and achieving satisfaction. The institutional crises that pervade our politics, economy, educational systems, and communities have inspired a contemporary crisis: a widespread inability for many to live as integrated, effective selves in the twenty-first century United States. Drawing on a wide range of historical and contemporary research, The Lonely Quest explores the dilemma of constructing the self in the U.S. today.
Table of Contents
Is it Hard to Make Arrangements with Yourself?
Exploring Mankind’s Past: Social Character under Tribalism, Feudalism, and Early Industrialism.
Documenting the Divide: Social Division in the Twenty-First Century United States
The Social Self: Early and Mid-Twentieth Century American Sociological Theories
The Formation of the Self under the Conditions of Globalized Capitalism
Self Identity in Field Studies in Twenty-First Century American Class Settings: Implications for Modernist Theories
Life Projects in the Twenty-First Century United States: Rising Inequality, Global Capitalism, Neo-Liberal Government, and the Great Recession.
Individualism and Meritocracy: Prospects for Constructing Self Identity under the Conditions of Twenty-First Century Modernity
Robert C. Hauhart is a professor in the Department of Society and Social Justice at Saint Martin's University, Lacey, WA. He is the author, most recently, of Seeking the American Dream: A Sociological Inquiry (2016) and the recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award to Slovenia for Spring, 2019.
"This book manages to make a useful contribution to an immense, wide-ranging and disparate literature... Hauhart is at his best when he employs an empirically driven critique of some of the more optimistic theories of the modern self. Here he successfully challenges abstract generalizations while arguing persuasively that class differences in the production of modern identities are being ignored, contending that most poor and working-class people have been cut loose from meaningful roles and relationships."
Peter Callero in Contemporary Sociology
"The Lonely Quest is an important, timely and well-researched book. Individualism is undergoing profound transformation at the current social-historical juncture, and Hauhart writes with special conviction, insight and verve. This excellent book is a sophisticated glimpse into the new individualisms of our possible futures."
Anthony Elliott, Research Professor and Executive Director, Hawke EU Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, University of South Australia
"The Lonely Quest takes up the immense and pressing question of how individuals create (or fail to create) an integrated and effective self in the globalized, unequal, and socially fragmented context of the contemporary United States. Hauhart digests a broad literature, across a range of disciplines, to present what has been theorized about the self, puncturing theoretical balloons along the way. He offers an important caution: Few have the structural and institutional resources necessary to create fulfilling selves – and our cultural pillars of individualism and meritocracy exacerbate the deficit. Lest we think this is simply an "individual" issue, he cautions against the social outcomes of "failed identity." The Lonely Quest is a good and important contribution."
Dennis J. Downey, California State University Channel Islands; President-Elect (2019-20) of the Pacific Sociological Association