Three Views Of Social Psychology: Two Sides Of Discipline

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Published In

Contemporary Psychology


Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1998, Vol 43(2), 87-89. Review of Social Psychology: Handbook of Basic Principles edited by E. Tory Higgins and Arie W. Kruglanski (see record 1996-98402-000). The present volume takes a cognitive focus and jettisons all reflections of the past in favor of a two page Preface on the importance of "discovering and understanding the true laws of nature" (p. vii). The chapters are all state-of-the art accounts of what are presumably "the lawful principles" (p. vii) governing social-psychological phenomenon. Where previous volumes have been concerned with a spectrum of methodological approaches, with rare exception, the present chapters are unquestioningly committed to the experimental testing of hypotheses. Most important, whereas previous volumes have featured a panoply of theoretical perspectives, the first 17 chapters of the present volume are robustly committed to a single, biocognitive model of human functioning. However, the author feels that the book does not address current topic and debates within the field. In addition, there is virtually no mention in this volume of the burgeoning literatures on discourse analysis, narratives, rhetoric, social representation, communal memory, social construction, ideology, power, or culture critique.

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