The Body and Social Psychology

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Springer New York, Nov 21, 1991 - Psychology - 216 pages
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This book is about the relationship between social psychology and the body. It starts from the assumption that questions to do with the body are of paramount importance for an understanding of social life. At first sight, this is a noncontentious statement to make, and yet a moment's thought shows that social psychology has had very little to say about this subject to date. Why should this be? Is it because the boundaries of the discipline have been drawn very tightly, focusing exclusively upon such things as attitudes and groups? Is it, perhaps, because the body suggests a field of study best left to biologists and physicians? Or is it because social psychology is well advised to steer clear of problems that draw us back from the social toward what are seen as the biological and the prehistory of our discipline? These were some of the questions that were in my mind when 1 decided to write this book. In addition, I was influenced by the experience of researching in the area of chronic illness. There is nothing quite like life threatening disease to point up mortality and the issues that arise from having to live with the constraints of one's body. Looking for theoretical ideas to help with this work led me to read in the literature of medical sociology.

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About the author (1991)

Alan Radley is Professor of Social Psychology in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough, and one of the founders of the undergraduate programme in Social Psychology that received its first intake of students in 1974. His research interests during this time have centred upon the social and psychological aspects of health and illness, particularly the ways in which people live with the diagnosis and treatment of serious disease. He has worked on a number of funded projects, including family response to one of its members receiving coronary bypass graft surgery, women living with heart disease, the role of counsellors in GP surgeries, the needs of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the outpatient consultation, and recovery in hospital using photo-production as a technique. Recently he has studied the experience of homelessness using photo-production techniques, first in London and now in Auckland, New Zealand (in collaboration with Dr Darrin Hodgetts). His work has been published in a range of journal papers and chapters, as well as in his own books that include, Prospects of Heart Surgery (Springer, 1988); The Body and Social Psychology (Springer, 1991); and Making Sense of Illness (Sage, 1994). He has also published a text, In Social Relationships, (Open University Press, 1991), edited the volume Worlds of Illness (Routledge, 1993) and contributed to Ideological Dilemmas (Sage, 1988), with colleagues in Social Psychology at Loughborough.

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