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Record Type: Review   ID: 330

Psychology and Postmodernism

Kvale, Steinar. (Ed.).

 This anthology in part includes some of the important papers given at a conference on postmodernism and psychology at the University of Aahus in Denmark where Kvale heads the Center for Qualitative Research. Four of the papers given at the conference (revised for this volume, by Ken and Mary Gergen, Kvale, Lars Løvlié, and Peter Madsen), were published in The Humanistic Psychologist in 1990, along with four additional articles, by Patti Lather, Paul Richer, John Shotter, and Neil Young, also revised here. And four chapters were written especially for this volume (by Seth Chaiklin, Mike Michael, Donald Polkingholne, and Louis Sass). Kvale begins with a very useful presentation of the meanings of the "postmodern." In 1989, the very year of the conference, I sought hard, in the public library where I worked, to discover just what "postmodern" meant. I wish I had had this volume then! Kvale also groups the chapters, which he admits are difficult to categorize, as follows: "The first chapters treat general possibilities of a postmodern psychology. The second group ... more specifically confronts the issue of the self and subjectivity in a postmodern age and the position of the professional practice of psychology. And in the last chapters, critiques of the concept of postmodernity as well as of a postmodern psychology are raised from feminist, modernist and Marxian perspectives" (p. 3). Whole books have since been written on the subject of each chapter, but this does not detract from the importance of this volume. It serves as a good introduction to postmodernism and psychology. The range of subjects covered, not only in psychology but the human sciences, subjectivity, self psychology, the arts, and psychoanalysis—is not possible in most monographs and is also instructive, revealing currents, cross-currents, and a good "feel" for how postmodernism can and is opening up the field of psychology.
Publisher Information:Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1992. 230p. Chap. bibl; Ind: 224-230
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