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Narcissism. a sociological interpretation
Journal Title: PSICOBIETTIVO 
Author/s: Vincenzo Cesareo, Italo Vaccarini 
Year:  2020 Issue: Language: Italian 
Pages:  27 Pg. 77-103 FullText PDF:  215 KB
DOI:  10.3280/PSOB2020-001005
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Despite its psychoanalytic matrix, the category of Narcissism proves to be fruitful also in the sociological field. Indeed, the traits of the narcissistic physiognomy expressed by the myth of Narcissus - self-referentiality, illusionism, entropy - not only characterize a type of personality, but also qualify the interrelation between personality, society and culture, which is typical of that contemporary historical-social dimension described as "the era of Narcissism". In our sociological interpretation, the key to understanding the "Era of Narcissism" lies in a peculiar attitude towards the world, defined as minimalist: the contraction of the horizon of expectations. This lowering of expectations results in a short-sighted closure of the ego inside the present; on a spatial level results in a self-referential closure of the ego, which causes the weakening of social bonds; on the symbolic level it translates in the loss of the ability to interpret symbols, thus making the differences of each reality vanish into indifference. The narrowing of expectations is part of the bifocal physiognomy of the narcissistic personality, marked by the combination of a "diminished self" and a "grandiose self", of - actual - insufficiency and impotence and of - illusionistic - omnipotence and self-sufficiency, of emptiness and hypertrophy, of minimalism and megalomania. Among the sociological indicators of Narcissism, the following are particularly significant: a) the elective affinities between Narcissism and Consumerism, especially regarding the concept of freedom as the absence of constraints; b) the erosion of social bonds, starting from primary bonds with parental figures - starting with the father to reach the crisis of association inside civil society and in mass parties, in the context of political society; c) the affirmation of a postmodern culture and worldview, which undermine the core values of modernity - work, politics, science - trivialize culture in the name of relativism and reduce the interest for existential questions.
Keywords: Expectations (dilatation versus contraction of expectations); consumerism; depression; social bond; minimalism; narcissism; postmodernism; diminished self; grandiose self.

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Vincenzo Cesareo, Italo Vaccarini, Narcissism. a sociological interpretation in "PSICOBIETTIVO" 1/2020, pp. 77-103, DOI:10.3280/PSOB2020-001005

   

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