The Cultural Psychology of Self: Place, Morality and Art in Human Worlds

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"The Cultural Psychology of Self is an exploration of how people navigate human worlds. It offers a powerful understanding of 'self' as the system through which we became capable of locating ourselves in our worlds, and of finding our ways around them." "Ciaran Benson introduces the field of cultural psychology specifically as it relates to 'self', and applies this understanding in a distinctively original way to themes of great moral and aesthetic importance. These include explorations of responsibility and childhood, pitilessness and compassion, suffering and guilt, visual art and the changing engagement of the spectator, connections between national and personal identity, and the critical analysis of psychological ideals of human development. The volume reflects the wide range of cultural psychology, which is in dialogue with disciplines as diverse as neuroscience and history, while at the same time reaching for an economic account of self based on the ideas of location, dislocation and relocation. In the latter part of the book, Benson makes extensive use of literature on the Holocaust and on aesthetic experiences of the visual arts to contrast phenomena of self-diminution with those of self-expansion. While not neglecting the centrality of neuroscientific and evolutionary accounts of self, this book speaks particularly to the historical, moral and artistic territories of cultural-historical psychology." "The Cultural Psychology of Self is a story of what being part of physical and social worlds makes of us, and of contemporary ways in which self can be understood as a means of navigating them."--BOOK JACKET.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415089043
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ciaran Benson is Professor of Psychology at University College Dublin, Ireland.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I The centrality of place for selfhood 1
Introduction 3
1 Selves and the need to navigate human worlds: a cultural psychological approach 16
2 The brain's work in locating selves 31
3 Placing oneself in personal time: the narrative structure of self 45
4 Moral identity and cultural-historical locations for self 59
5 Self-creation as self-location 73
6 Pronouns placing selves: 'I' and its associates 88
7 Feeling your way: emotions as self's pathfinders 103
Pt. II Location, dislocation and relocation: responsibility, caring, art and changing prospects 119
Introduction 121
8 Childhood, responsibility and acquiring powers to place oneself as a moral agent 130
9 Pitilessness and compassion: caring where others are 146
10 Suffering, radical dislocation and the limits of moral responsibility 161
11 Being moved: art, self and positive absorption 176
12 Points of view and none: visual art and the location of self 192
13 Individual and national identity: analogy, symbiosis and artistic process 206
14 Psychologies of maturity: development or destination? 222
Conclusion 237
Navigating human worlds 239
Bibliography 244
Index 255
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