The Well-Tempered Self: Citizenship, Culture, and the Postmodern Subject

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In The Well-Tempered Self , Miller contends that the modern capitalist state musters a variety of mixed messages about the nature of citizenship and the self. Miller argues that capitalism's democratic politics requires selfless, community-minded citizens, while its economics depends on selfish, utilitarian consumers. To fulfil these conflicting needs for political order and economic prosperity, powerful cultural forces are employed to instill a sense of ethical incompleteness . Citizens are then offered political, cultural and economic opportunities to become better, happier and more fulfilled - opportunities that, in turn, encourage loyalty to both the political and economic systems. In a series of case studies that demonstrate this process, Miller examines mass entertainment, political discourse, and methods of resistance to these powerful cultural forces.