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Childhood And Society [Paperback]

E H Erikson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

20 April 1995
With this deeply influential book, which is now internationally recognised as a classic study of childhood and its social significance, Professor Erikson has made an outstanding contribution to the study of human behaviour. Drawing on psychoanalytical theory and his own clinical experience, he devotes the main chapters to anxiety in young children, apathy in American Indians, confusion in veterans of war, and arrogance in young Nazis.

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Childhood And Society + Identity and the Life Cycle + The Life Cycle Completed: A Review
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (20 April 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099532913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099532910
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 195,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A rare and living combination of European and American thought in the human sciences" (Margaret Mead)

"A unique combination of imaginative clinical description, rigorous thinking, gentle humour and deep humanity" (Science)

"The application of psychoanalysis to the field of cultural anthropology has nowhere found a more mature expression" (Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry)

Book Description

Pulitzer-winner Erik Erikson's study of childhood and its social significance is widely regarded as one of the most original, influential and imaginative works in psychoanalysis.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is one of the all-time key texts on emotional development throughout the lifecycle, as relevant today as when first published in the early 1950's. At the heart of it is Erikson's encapsulation of the life cycle within the famous 8 ages. Each of these ages identifies two simultaneously opposing pulls, for example between basic trust and basic mistrust [infancy] or generativity and stagnation [mid adulthood]. They are not alternatives to each other in the sense that one will ultimately overcome the other: rather it is how the tension between each pair is resolved that influences the development of each individual personality.
The conceptual underpinning is firmly psychodynamic, but by no means Freudian, belonging, if anything more to the Object Relations school than any other.This approach allows for ambivalence and ambiguity in individuals in ways which more social learning based approaches fail for the most part to accommodate. He provides insights into the irrational as well as the rational aspects of human relationships and functioning and recognises the child inside the adult.
If any part of Childhood and society is showing its age, then perhaps the strictures of adult sexual union in the age of intimacy versus isolation which are predicated upon relations with a loved partner, of the opposite sex reflect a pre 90's attitude to gay relationships.That aside, this is a wise, thought provoking work which is firmly grounded in the author's own clinical practice in psychotherapy. It is cross cultural to the extent that he includes findings from cultures outwith contemporary Western society.This is a classic in its field and of immense value to all who work or teach in the human relations field
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Whilst seminal in its exploration of human development beyond childhood and adolescence, the chapter about little Jean made me first angry, then, in historical context, disappointed but comprehending.

A picture of a child with (almost certainly) an autistic spectrum disorder, mislabelled as "Schizophrenic" and saddled with all the Freudian baggage about psychosexual conflict and the 'poor early parenting' dogma that ruined thousands of families' lives in the 50s, 60s and right up to the 70s (still, horrifyingly, in France and some other places today), can only be comprehended if you remember that the legacy of Freud was to look at a (yes, many theories of his are based on just one or at most a handful of cases) clinical case and draw inferences outward, rather than study a large normal population and anomalous cases chiefly for comparison and then develop a theory *from the evidence*, rather than force evidence into a pre-adopted mould. In this tradition, falling into the trap of assuming that a child who looks normal, *is* normal, and any abnormalities they may show are the fault of the environment, is all too easy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars read 28 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this product came within date of purchase and has been very useful and helpful throughout my studies. I would recommend this product to everyone!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I COULDN'T AGREE MORE WITH C.KEENAN! 8 Feb 2000
By A Customer
Theres not much to add to that incredibly perceptive and succint review, written by wise Mr Keenan.I would just like to add that from the perspective of a student studying lifespan development theories, this book is a bible.As bibles go this one is particularly noteworthy in it's accessibility,and a length that affords you the luxuary of reading it in it's entirity. I could not have begun to write my Human Growth and Behaviour essay without it. I only hope that Mr Keenan will mark my efforts with 5 stars also! Does this comment suggest I have an irregularity in my ego functioning ? Read Erikson to find out...
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for child counselling 27 Aug 2010
By Cal
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