Social Pathology in Comparative Perspective: The Nature and Psychology of Civil Society

Social Pathology in Comparative Perspective: The Nature and Psychology of Civil Society

Social Pathology in Comparative Perspective: The Nature and Psychology of Civil Society

Social Pathology in Comparative Perspective: The Nature and Psychology of Civil Society

Synopsis

This book builds on the notion that social pathology differs from society to society and that the sense of character that develops in each society is specific to different perceptions of interpersonal obligations and responsibilities in that society. The book deals with the cultural and psychological effects of social change relevant to the study of modernity and postmodernity. It deals with particular social issues such as war and conflict, juvenile delinquency, problems of social ecology and religious revivalism, all reflecting the stresses of modern life and social change within very concrete, particular environments. Braun and his contributors show how individual character and civil society evolve together to create culturally specific trajectories of social change.

Excerpt

As a follow-up to Psychological Aspects of Modernity (Praeger, 1993) which emphasizes the effects of modernization on personal happiness and the meeting of psychological needs, this volume, which I have also edited, explores the effects of social change, but with increased emphasis on a more particular issue: How does the sense of self vary in different cultures, and what impact does this have on what people feel they owe or do not owe to each other--in fact, on how they relate to each other, and on the resulting sense of civil society? Thus, this book deals more directly with cultural and political issues related to modernity than the first book does. In general, this book builds on the notion that social pathology not only differs in different cultures but also reflects the sense of character that develops in different types of civil society, with quite different effects on tolerance and relations between subcultures, for example.

The end result of this analysis is increased knowledge of the way in which individual character arises under conditions of modernization within particular cultural contexts--in other words, how social control influences self-control and vice versa. There is also an emphasis on describing the cultural goals of self-control and what one has self-control for, which seems to be changing under the influence of modernization toward a "consumer" orientation in all things that, from a psychological perspective, fosters narcissism, even when it is merely the core of an otherwise authoritarian personality. Thus, self-esteem in the modern world is increasingly the outcome of the ability to compete for materialistic goals, not self-esteem as the ability to achieve intimacy as defined by common . . .

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