Social Symptoms of Identity Needs: Why We Have Failed to Solve Our Social Problems and What to do About It

Overview

Social Symptoms of Identity Needs explains how our major social problems, including crime, violence, terrorism, war, substance abuse and prejudice, are the result of efforts by their perpetrators to maintain a secure identity, or sense of self. It demonstrates, further, how our ineffective and counterproductive responses to these problems—including the War on Drugs, the War on Crime, and the War on Terrorism—are themselves the result of the fact that we don’t really want to solve them, because they serve as means...

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Social Symptoms of Identity Needs: Why We Have Failed to Solve Our Social Problems and What to do About It

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Overview

Social Symptoms of Identity Needs explains how our major social problems, including crime, violence, terrorism, war, substance abuse and prejudice, are the result of efforts by their perpetrators to maintain a secure identity, or sense of self. It demonstrates, further, how our ineffective and counterproductive responses to these problems—including the War on Drugs, the War on Crime, and the War on Terrorism—are themselves the result of the fact that we don’t really want to solve them, because they serve as means for us, the general public, to maintain our own identities. The book locates the root causes of these social problems and counterproductive responses in certain identity-damaging social and cultural phenomena that force identity to defend and maintain itself by socially harmful means. It concludes by explaining social and cultural interventions that can prevent the social problems by preventing, repairing, or compensating for the identity problems that give rise to them.

-Provides a more comprehensive model of identity than those currently found in psychology, sociology, or psychoanalysis
-Demonstrates that identity maintenance is the common motive underlying diverse social problems as well as our (deliberate) failure to solve them
-Offers strategies of identity development for solving social problems and formulates interventions for implementing these strategies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781855756540
  • Publisher: Karnac Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2009
  • Pages: 316
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Bracher is Professor at the Department of English, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio; Director, Center for Literature and Psychoanalysis; and Founding Editor of Psychoanalysis, Culture, and Society. He has written a number of of articles and books including The Writing Cure and Lacanian Theory of Discourse.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

About the Author ix

Preface xi

Part I Identity and the Causes of Social Problems 1

Introduction: The causes of social problems 3

Chapter 1 The nature of identity and its role in social problems 23

Part II Social Problems as Symptoms of Identity Needs 65

Chapter 2 Delinquency, crime, and violence 67

Chapter 3 Terrorism and war 93

Part III The Role of Identity in the Failure to Solve Social Problems 121

Chapter 4 Phobic objects, subalterns, and enemies as resources for identity maintenance 123

Chapter 5 Identity-damaging social and cultural forces 151

Part IV Social Change and Identity Development 185

Chapter 6 Promoting benign identity contents 187

Chapter 7 Decommissioning harmful defences 205

Chapter 8 Promoting identity integration 221

Chapter 9 Promoting more inclusive identity structures 235

Conclusion: The identity development imperative 253

Appendix I Psychological symptoms as expressions of identity needs 269

Appendix II Multiple self-motives and self-esteem 273

References 279

Index 293

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