Flight From The Quagmire

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


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Contemporary Psychology


Reviews the book Identity, Youth and Crisis by Erik H. Erikson.

These essays, many previously published, were written over a twenty-one year period and offer little in the way of coolly reasoned dialectic. There is ample use made of materials gathered by author in his encounters with patients, and closely examined biographical writings. But for the great body of empirical literature on self-conception, self-definition, child development, and adolescence, he seems to hold a peculiar disdain. Little direct reference to any of this literature exists in his work. Where indirect references appear, such contributions are dismissed as if superficial products of graceless mechanization. This attitude is ultimately rendered ironic, as a full ten pages of the volume are spent in describing and drawing generalizations from an empirical study carried out by the author himself--a study that meets few of the ordinary requirements of rigor.

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