Number of page: 254
Publisher: I.B.Tauris, 2007
Both an exploration of the ways in which we fashion our public identity and a manual of modern sociability, this lively and readable book explores the techniques we use to present ourselves to the world: body language, tone of voice, manners, demeanour, ‘personality’ and personal style. Drawing on historical commentators from Castiglione to Machiavelli, and from Marcel Mauss to Roland Barthes, Joanne Finkelstein looks to popular visual culture, including Hollywood film and makeover TV, to show how it provides blueprints for the successful construction of ‘persona’. She also discusses the role of fashion and of status symbols and how advertising sells these to us in our never ending quest for social mobility.Finkelstein’s interest here is not in the veracity of the self – recently dissected by critical theory – but rather in the ways in which we style this ‘self’, in the enduring appeal of the ‘new you’ and in our fascination with deception, fraudulent personalities and impostors.