In The Tipping Point Gladwell changed the way we understand the world. In Blink he changed the way we think about thinking. In OUTLIERS he transforms the way we understand success.
This unflinching effort critically traces the attempt of social psychology over the past half century to forge a scientific understanding of human behavior based on the systematic use of experiments. Having examined the record from the inception of the field to the present, Brannigan suggests that it has failed to live up to its promise: that social psychologists have achieved little consensus about the central problems in the field; that they have failed to amass a body of systematic, non-trivial theoretical insight; and that recent concerns over the ethical treatment of human subjects could arguably bring the discipline to closure. But that is not the disastrous outcome that Brannigan hopes for. Rather, going beyond an apparent iconoclasm, the author explores prospects for a post-experimental discipline. It is a view that admits the role of ethical considerations as part of scientific judgment, but not as a sacrifice of, but an extension of, empirical research that takes seriously how the brain represents information, and how these mechanisms explain social behaviors and channel human choices and appetites. What makes this work special is its function as a primary text in the history as well as the current status of social psychology as a field of behavioral science. The keen insight, touched by the gently critical styles, of such major figures as Philip Zimbardo, Morton Hunt, Leon Festinger, Stanley Milgram, Alex Crey, Samuel Wineburg, Carol Gilligan, David M. Buss--among others--makes this a perfect volume for students entering the field, and no less, a reminder of the past as well as present of social psychology for its serious practitioners. Augustine Brannigan is professor of sociology, in the department of sociology, at the University of Calgary. He is the author of The Social Basis of Scientific Discoveries and of various social science publications.
How does the sense of basic fairness--or selflessness versus selfishness--arise? How is it exhibited behaviorally? How is it maintained? Few topics hold more contemporary significance or have proved more elusive to specification in precise scientific terms. Current research perspectives on altruism, narcissism, and comity by distinguished behavioral scientists from around the world were brought together in a special issue of Current Psychology (Summer 1998) and are offered here in a useful compendium.
Chapters and contributors include: "Equity, Justice, and Altruism" by Graham F. Wagstaff; "Reactions to the Fate of One's Brainchild After Its Disclosure" by Sidney Rosen and Shannon Wheatman; "Need Norm, Demographic Influence, Social Role, and Justice Judgment" by Helen E. Linkey and Sheldon Alexander; "Adaptive and Maladaptive Narcissism" by Robert W. Hill and Greg Yousey; "Perceptions of Self-Oriented and Other-Oriented Help-Providers" by Mark A. Barnett, Guy D. Vitaglione, Jeffrey S. Bartel, Birgit S. Valdez, Lee Ann Steadman, and Kimberly K. G. Harper; and "Pathological Narcissism and Serial Homicide" by Louis B. Schlesinger. Altruism, Narcissism, Comity will benefit students, researchers, and practitioners in the psychological sciences, sociology, political science, philosophy, law, and other disciplines concerned with the nature of selflessness, heroism, justice, and their variants.
Nathaniel Pallone is University Distinguished Professor, psychology and criminal justice, at Rutgers University, and executive editor of Current Psychology. He is the author of Mental Disorder Among Prisoners, Rehabilitating Criminal Sexual Psychopaths, and On the Social Utility of Psychopathology, all available from Transaction.
"Ambiguous Memory" examines the role of memory in the building of a new national identity in reunified Germany. The author maintains that the contentious debates surrounding contemporary monumnets to the Nazi past testify to the ambiguity of German memory and the continued link of Nazism with contemporary German national identity. The book discusses how certain monuments, and the ways Germans have viewed them, contribute to the different ways Germans have dealt with the past, and how they continue to deal with it as one country. Kattago concludes that West Germans have internalized their Nazi past as a normative orientation for the democratic culture of West Germany, while East Germans have universalized Nazism and the Holocaust, transforming it into an abstraction in which the Jewish question is down played. In order to form a new collective memory, the author argues that unified Germany must contend with these conflicting views of the past, incorporating certain aspects of both views.
Providing a topography of East, West, and unified German memory during the 1980s and the 1990s, this work contributes to a better understanding of contemporary national identity and society. The author shows how public debate over such issues at Ronald Reagan's visit to Bitburg, the renarration of Buchenwald as Nazi and Soviet internment camp, the Goldhagen controversy, and the Holocaust Memorial debate in Berlin contribute to the complexities surrounding the way Germans see themselves, their relationship to the past, and their future identity as a nation. In a careful analysis, the author shows how the past was used and abused by both the East and the West in the 1980s, and how these approaches merged in the 1990s. This interesting new work takes a sociological approach to the role of memory in forging a new, integrative national identity.