Contextualism and Understanding in Behavioral Science: Implications for Research and Theory

Contextualism and Understanding in Behavioral Science: Implications for Research and Theory

Contextualism and Understanding in Behavioral Science: Implications for Research and Theory

Contextualism and Understanding in Behavioral Science: Implications for Research and Theory

Excerpt

The book is divided into six parts. Part I, a single chapter, gives a definitional framework to the project. The chapter discusses thematic assumptions on which the following chapters converge and provides a contemporary frame for the emergence of contextualism in psychology. Parts II through V each contain three chapters that explore selected fields -- Person-Environment Relations (Chapters 2-4), Life-Span Development (Chapters 5-7), Personality and Psychotherapy (Chapters 8-10), Language and Communication (Chapters 11-13) -- so as to illustrate how this new sense of behavioral science is taking hold in different areas. Each Part begins with a pair of "focused" chapters that examine some body of work within a particular field. The focused chapters are followed by a "prospective" chapter that weighs that field in terms of the theoretical and methodological gaps to be filled and speculates -- or makes recommendations -- on future directions. Part VI, two chapters, wraps up the volume. The opening chapter in this Part explores the implications for theory and research that stem from contextualism as a theory of knowledge and a guide to inquiry. The final chapter briefly underscores the point of each chapter and reiterates contextualism's view of the aims and methods of the behavioral sciences.

The initial idea for this project was Marianthi Georgoudi's. When she died of a stroke on March 31, 1985, at the age of 27, she left behind a vision of the conscious life of this volume. Sheparding the project to completion would have been a lonelier task without the solicitude of Marianthi's friends and colleagues. This book is dedicated to her memory.

I am indebted to Corinna Tsakiridou, Marianthi's dear friend, for selecting the lines of Odysseus Elytis's poem, The Garden of the Scorched Hand," which concludes this Preface. I thank Temple University for permission to reprint this segment from Elytis's book, The Sovereign Sun (Temple University Press, 1974), and for the personal support that I have received from Temple University in the form of the Bolton Professorship and a Summer Research Fellowship. I am also grateful to Mary Lu Rosenthal for . . .

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