Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Makeover Nation: The United States of Reinvention

Miller, T. (2008) Makeover Nation: The United States of Reinvention. The Ohio State University Press/Columbus, Columbus, Ohio.


Life is very much a project in the United States—but not a straightforwardly individual one. A duality of individual free choice and disciplinary institutional governance is the grand national paradox. Simply being—leading life without a bumper sticker avowing one’s elective institutional affinities—seems implausible in a country consumed by the makeover—the idea that what you were born as need not define you forever. As Toby Miller writes in his introduction: “I come neither to bury the makeover nor to praise the makeover, but to criticize it, even as I stand alternately bewildered, amused, appalled, and attracted by it.” In Makeover Nation he does just that in a witty, no-holds-barred style. Miller looks at the power of various forms of knowledge about people and their emotions as they have been applied to the US population, from talk therapy to drug treatment. He is particularly interested in young people—in examining how childhood is constructed—and pays close attention to the much-favored (and overused) diagnosis and treatment of ADHD/ADD. He also focuses his attention on metrosexuals and right-wing Christians to disclose how these opposing groups manifest their drive toward self-creation. Miller believes that we must question the pleasures of reinvention even as we embrace them.

Item Type: Book
Publisher: The Ohio State University Press/Columbus
Copyright: 2008 The Ohio State University
Publisher's Website:
Item Control Page Item Control Page