Christopher Lasch

Christopher Lasch: (1932-1994) American social critic and cultural historian. Lasch, a professor of history, is best known for his penetrating analyses of contemporary American cultural and political phenomena. In The Culture of Narcissism (1979), which became an unlikely best-seller, Lasch examined the effects of an increasingly self-centered worldview on the family and the community. He consistently challenged contemporary Americans’ reliance on experts to determine standards of behavior and thought. The Minimal Self (1984) examines individual freedom and privacy in the light of the agencies for social control in our lives. Lasch’s last work, The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy (1994), took its ironic title from Ortega y Gasset’s The Revolt of the Masses (1930) and argued that the greatest threat to democracy is now from a technocratic oligarchy at the top and not from revolution from below.

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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