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Inventing Our Selves: Psychology, Power, and Personhood

CoverInventing Our Selves proposes a radical new approach to the analysis of our current regime of the self, and the values of autonomy, identity, individuality, liberty and choice that animate it. It argues that psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy and other "psy" disciplines have played a key role in "inventing our selves, " changing the ways in which human beings understand and act upon themselves, and how they are acted upon by politicians, managers, doctors, therapists and a multitude of other authorities. These mutations are intrinsically linked to recent changes in ways of understanding and exercising political power, which have stressed the values of autonomy, personal responsibility and choice. The aim of this critical history is to diagnose and destabilize our contemporary "condition" of the self, to help us think differently about the kind of persons we are, or might become.



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  • Ellen Jane Langer (born March 25, 1947) is professor of psychology at Harvard University who has studied the illusion of control, decision making, aging and mindfulness theory.
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  • Klaus Holzkamp (November 30, 1927, Berlin – November 1, 1995) was a German psychologist. He worked as a professor at the Free University of Berlin. He took a central role in defining critical psychology based on the works of Karl Marx. Holzkamp's main message is...

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