|About the Book|
In a tough opening statement, M. Brewster Smith outlines his own life course and contrasts it with the agenda of social psychology in the present professional moment. Todays journals, textbooks, and conferences represent a vigorous but narrowMoreIn a tough opening statement, M. Brewster Smith outlines his own life course and contrasts it with the agenda of social psychology in the present professional moment. Todays journals, textbooks, and conferences represent a vigorous but narrow scientific specialty in psychology, the practitioners of which are more closely focused on agendas that are primarily and often only intelligible within the subdiscipline than was the case when I formed my identity as a psychologist.In contrast, Smith sees himself, and has long been seen by others, as a social psychologist in the tradition of Gordon Allport, Gardner and Lois Murphy, Kurt Lewin, and Muzafer Sherif. Smiths unique ability has been to contribute to the emergence of personality as a differentiated academic field and at the same time maintain strong interdisciplinary ties to a variety of fields ranging from sociology to philosophy. In recent years, such concerns have made the author a central figure in the development of Humanistic Psychology as a part of the American Psychological Association.Because of these wide ranging concerns, the major statements of Brewster Smith have appeared in diverse places. Here, brought into a unified and uniform frame of reference, one has his work on values and selfhood, humanistic psychology and the social sciences, and humanism and social issues brought together for the first time. The picture is of a major thinker who is at home in the details of psychology and in the broad areas of public interest and social policy.Brewster Smith discusses major issues in terms of the political processes involved in the public interest. These range from the issue of advocacy within social research to conceptualizing anew familiar issues within psychology. For the generalist interested in the broader meanings of social psychology to the specialist aiming to recapture the big issues with which the field was once identified, this is a must volume.