The Self: Death By Technology

Kenneth J. Gergen, Swarthmore College

Abstract

Kenneth Gergen asks whether in the midst of a techno-cultural revolution the traditional conceptions of self and community continue to securea morally viable society. Gergen examines the erosion of both individualism and communalism (and their associated institutions) by the accumulating “technologies of sociation,” the host of relatively low-cost technologies that dramatically expand and intensify social connection. He considers the effects of these technologies on the experience of a private self and argues that cumulatively they undermine the presumption of the individual as the locus of moral agency.