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Understanding the Self

Understanding the Self

Edited by:

January 1996 | 384 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
`I judge this book to be something of a triumph. It provides many valuable insights into how social psychologists work within different paradigms and with quite different assumptions.... Throughout, the writing is clear, central issues are constantly re-examined, and sight is never lost of the whole "task" of the book... it addresses central issues both adventurously and provocatively. Students who use it are lucky to have such a feast provided, and they are bound to find the material both challenging and stimulating... there is much more about self issues in this text than in any comparable social psychology text. And that, in itself, is a major achievement' - Self & Society

`An absolutely terrific book - very innovative and in some ways really revolutionary: a wonderfully thoughtful volume... designed to teach people not just about social psychology, but how to think social psychology' - Jerome Bruner, New York University

`This is the most forward looking text I have ever encountered. Where most textbooks are composed of dry summaries of past accomplishments, the present volume draws students into dialogue on cutting-edge issues. Both teachers and students will be enriched' - Kenneth Gergen, Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania

This accessible, broad-based and authoritative textbook explores theories and research relating to the self for students of personality and social psychology. A feature of the book is that it is designed to provoke reflection in readers, both on their own experience and on the nature of social psychological understanding.

It engages with contemporary debates about the nature of self by contrasting original and leading-edge treatments from five perspectives: biological; cognitive-experimental; experiential; social constructionist; and psychodynamic. The concluding chapter explores how these perspectives interrelate, through a discussion of the dilemmas of self and identity in modern society.

Understanding the Self is one of three books which form the core of the Open University's course Social Psychology: Personal Lives, Social Worlds.

Richard Stevens
Making Sense of the Person in a Social World

Frederick Toates
The Embodied Self
A Biological Perspective

Mansur Lalljee
The Interpreting Self
An Experimentalist Perspective

Richard Stevens
The Reflexive Self
An Experiential Perspective

Margaret Wetherell and Janet Maybin
The Distributed Self
A Social Constructionist Perspective

Kerry Thomas
The Defensive Self
A Psychodynamic Perspective

Richard Stevens and Margaret Wetherell
The Self in the Modern World
Drawing Together the Threads


A lovely book, well written. I enjoyed the way the author transceneded a variety of theoretical approached. Unfortunately not what is required for the course I am teaching

Mr Mark Timoney
Humanities , Sligo Institute of Technology
May 28, 2012

This is a dated text and subsequently is devoid of the more contemporary postmodern/ post structuralist perspectives on identity and self

Dr William Evans
Dept of Nursing, Tralee Institute of Technology
June 18, 2010

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ISBN: 9780761950400
ISBN: 9780761950394