A Sense of Self: The Work of Affirmation

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, 2003 - Philosophy - 209 pages
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An exploration of the crucial role of affirmation in human development; A clinical psychologist as well as a sociologist, Thomas J. Cottle is the author of more than twenty-five books. At the heart of his work is a concern with the problems confronted by ordinary people in their everyday lives, the kinds of issues that shape who we are and how we interact with the world around us. In this book, his focus is on affirmation, that mysterious process by which the self comes to know itself in relation to others and forges an identity. What is it that we experience when we are affirmed, Cottle asks, and what are the ramifications of affirmation, or the lack of it, in how we lead our lives? In pursuing his investigation, Cottle draws on a remarkably broad range of social scientific and philosophical literature, from Piaget and Kohut to Nietzsche and Levinas. Looking closely at the relationship between the individual, the family, and society, he explores issues of intimacy, morality, ethics, aesthetics, and socialization. He pays particular attention to the role of devotion, showing how the act of taking responsibility for another is the essence of affirmation, which in turn is the fundame
 

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Contents

The Act of Affirmation
3
The Relational Aspect of Affirmation
24
PART II
43
The Gaze or Affirmation
45
The Miraculous Stranger
60
The Construction of Affirmation
95
PART III
123
Average Expectable Environments
125
The Affirmation Curriculum
153
Notes
169
References
193
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Page ix - Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
Page 6 - Adolescent egocentricity is manifested by a belief in the omnipotence of reflection, as though the world should submit itself to idealistic schemes rather than to systems of reality. It is the metaphysical age par excellence; the self is strong enough to reconstruct the universe and big enough to incorporate it.

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About the author (2003)

Thomas J. Cottle is professor of education at Boston University.

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