We live in the age of the individual. Every day, we're bombarded with depictions of the beautiful, successful, slim, socially conscious, and extroverted individual that our culture has decided is the perfect self, and we berate ourselves when we don't measure up. This model of the perfect self and the impossibly high standards it sets can be extremely dangerous. People are suffering under the torture of this impossible fantasy, and unprecedented social pressure is leading to increases in depression and suicide. Journalist and novelist Will Storr began to wonder about this perfect self that torments so many of us: Where does this ideal come from? Why is it so powerful? Is there any way to break its spell? To answer these questions, Storr takes the reader on a journey from the shores of Ancient Greece, through the Christian Middle Ages, to the self-esteem evangelists of 1980s California, the rise of narcissism and the "selfie" generation, and right up to the era of hyper-individualism in which we live now. Selfie tells the epic tale of the person we all know so intimately--because it's us.
If twenty-first-century urbanization is understood as a problem, its regional epicenter is the cities in Asia. Facing unprecedented diversity in scale, scope, and environmental dynamics in the Asian urban experience, scholars will need an approach that can truly capture the significance of place and context. The challenge, as this volume illustrates, can be met by the analytic of ecologies of urbanism. Eschewing a rigid, single ecology, the contributors identify multiple forms of nature--in biophysical, cultural, and political terms--that have discernable impact on power relations and human social action. The case studies in this book--including leopards in Mumbai, a network of tubewells in northern India, an island that grows through reclamation in Hong Kong, and a railway continuum linking Khon Kaen and Bangkok--all attest to the versatility of ecologies of urbanism. Guided by urban processes rather than geopolitical boundaries, Places of Nature in Ecologies of Urbanism offers a picture of urban Asia that is composed of varied ecologies of urbanism.