Psychology and Historical Interpretation
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Psychology and Historical Interpretation

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Description

What contributions can psychology make toward understanding the course of individual lives and the flow of historical events? After an introduction which reviews the intellectual and institutional history of the field, chapters by distinguished contributors explore the uses of psychoanalysis, neo-analytic theory, and academic psychology in historical interpretation. Substantive examples range from Joseph Stalin to Alice James, sexuality in Victorian England, the U.S. Continental Congress, and advances in psychohistorical studies of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. The conclusion re-examines the conceptual foundations of psychohistory, outlining its differentiated internal structure and its relationships to adjacent fields such as psychological anthropology, historical sociology, and political psychology. The volume as a whole is intended to advance and deepen the debate about the relationships between psychology, biography, and historical interpretation.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 137.16 x 203.2 x 20.32mm | 340.19g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 6 figures
  • 0195053281
  • 9780195053289

Review quote

[Runyan] has taken a valiant stride towards broadening the theoretical repertoire of 'psychohistory.' * New Ideas in Psychology * The contributors to this collection have demonstrated a willingness to confront the problems and difficulties of making psychological contributions to historical interpretation. . . The introduction and conclusion by Runyan are particularly valuable. He presents a brief but useful history of psychohistory and an analysis of the impressive quantitative growth of the field. Finally, his reconceptualization of the relationships between history and psychology shows real promise of putting psychohistory on a more solid theoretical foundation. * The Psychological Record * It is a pleasure to read and study a well-written, well-researched, and scholarly collection of papers that focuses upon a specific topic. Here one explores new thinking, reflects on existing impressions and beliefs, and also has an aesthetic experience in following the course of the volume as it unfolds, travels here and there but stays on course and ends without dogmatic, simplistic, and reductionistic conclusions. Professor William M. Runyan is to be congratulated for the excellent product resulting from his careful editing, his painstaking research of the historical and conceptual background to psychohistory, and his selection of excellent scholars who present their ideas clearly. * Psychohistory Review * Attempts to re-examine, perhaps even rehabilitate, the controversial field of psychohistory, and to provide a more comprehensive conceptual framework for analyzing relationships between history and psychology . . . . This volume is intended to suggest sounder conceptual foundations for the enterprise, and to advance and deepen the debate about the relationships among psychology, biography, and history. * History and Theory * . . . significant interest and importance to practitioners of the social sciences in general. It offers a sophisticated, stimulating, and multifaceted discussion and critical analysis of most of the methods and some of the results of historical inquiry into the motives, perceptions, attitudes, actions, and interactions and as members of the various institutions of society. * Contemporary Sociology * Excellent summations and extraordinary formulations and furtherings of insight in this field. The contributors address key issues such as emotional involvement and countertransference; they also discuss advances in psychoanalysis as well as the limits of the discipline. Cases discussed include those of Alice James and Joseph Stalin. This book is essential for scholars, students, and general readers who are trying to keep abreast of developments in the field of psychohistory. * Choice * Skeptical about psychohistory, I.... thoroughly enjoyed it. This is an honest, well-written, intelligent discussion of contemporary psychohistorical work. * Sheldon H. White, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University * Showing that psychological understanding need not be limited to psychoanalysis, Runyan develops a comprehensive conceptualization for the use of psychology in psychohistory, a harbinger of good things to come in this significant field. * Robert W. White, Professor Emeritus Clinical Psychology, Harvard University *show more

Table of contents

PART I: CASE STUDIES IN BIOGRAPHY AND PSYCHOLOGY; PART II: THE USES OF PSYCHOANALYSIS AND PSYCHOLOGY IN HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION; PART III: CONCLUSION AND FUTURE DIRECTIONSshow more

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