Damnation and Deviance: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Failure

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The Calvinist view that man is predestined to be among the elect or the damned has profoundly influenced not only our views of criminals and deviants, but also the theoretical basis of correctional methods and psychotherapeutic techniques. In this provocative and original volume, Mordechai Rotenberg examines the impact of Protestant doctrine on Western theories of deviance. He explores the inherent contradiction between Protestant ethics, with its view of human nature as ...

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Overview

The Calvinist view that man is predestined to be among the elect or the damned has profoundly influenced not only our views of criminals and deviants, but also the theoretical basis of correctional methods and psychotherapeutic techniques. In this provocative and original volume, Mordechai Rotenberg examines the impact of Protestant doctrine on Western theories of deviance. He explores the inherent contradiction between Protestant ethics, with its view of human nature as predestinated, and the "people-changing" sciences.

Rotenberg presents empirical studies that show how people's tendency to label themselves and others as deviant can be predicted on the basis of their exposure to Western socialization. He contrasts alienating individuals, the result of competitiveness and exaggerated independence fostered by socialization in Protestant societies, to the reciprocal individualism of Hassidic, Japanese, and other non-Western cultures. Examining the Protestant "bias" of Western behavioral sciences, Rotenberg examines modern theories of deviance and proposes alternative models. He compares traditional past-oriented insight therapy, grounded in Calvinist methods of introspection, self-torment, and conversion, with Hassidic notions of redemption and salvation.

"Rotenberg provides important historical and sociological insights into the intellectual origins of modern theories of deviance. His argument that Western behavioral science retains a Calvinist view of humanity will force most scholars to examine anew the assumptions and foundations of their own theories."--Gerald N. Grob, Rutgers University

"A highly original work, which should be of great interest to anyone concerned with relevant behavior. It shows how macro-definitions in a society tend to lead people to think about themselves and their ills in certain ways--and thus to deviate in certain ways."--Richard A. Cloward, co-author, Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780029274903
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1978
  • Pages: 232

Meet the Author

Mordechai Rotenberg is a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Among his other books are Between Rationality and Irrationality, Rewriting the Self, Hasidic Psychology, and Damnation and Deviance, all published in new paperback editions by Transaction.

Mordechai Rotenberg is a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Among his other books are Between Rationality and Irrationality, Rewriting the Self, Hasidic Psychology, and Damnation and Deviance, all published in new paperback editions by Transaction.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition
Foreword
Ch. 1 The Protestant Ethic vs. the "People-Changing" Professions 1
Ch. 2 Puritan Damnation and Deviance: A Socio-Historical Case Study 22
Ch. 3 "Differential Insensitivity" and the Myth of the "Psychopath" 41
Ch. 4 The Antilabeling Crusade and Self-labeling 77
Ch. 5 Empirical Explorations of Indicative Labeling 100
Ch. 6 "Contingent Being" and the "Action-Reaction" Convergence Model 123
Ch. 7 "Alienating Individualism" and "Reciprocal Individualism" 144
Ch. 8 Retrospective vs. Prospective Therapy: An Encounter Between the Protestant and Hassidic Salvation Ethics 172
App The Egoistic/Collectivistic (E/C-nAch) Questionnaire 203
Bibliography 209
Index 225
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