A new psychology for a new society.
Society is undergoing a process of deep change and transformation as the neoliberal order moves into crisis. Contemporary psychology, mired in exceptionalism and individualism, fails to address this broader context and continues with a fragmented reductionist approach which is alienating to students and practitioners alike. In the lifetime of the discipline there have been several distinct frameworks to emerge - psychoanalytic, behaviourist and cognitive. To these one might add Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory as the last attempt to present a coherent and challenging framework for how to understand our lives. As society moves into a new phase, Ron Roberts argues the need for a new way of ‘doing’ psychology which challenges not only the existing epistemological and reductionist outlook, but the centrality of a scientific professional discourse as a suitable vehicle for improving lives and making sense of the world.
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In The Off-Modern, Ron Roberts takes the reader on a beautiful and inspiring journey, away from common platitudes in modern psychology to new ways of knowing ourselves. This is neither modern nor post-modern psychology: this is 'off-modern'. Roberts uses the concept of the off-modern from the philosopher Svetlana Boym for a critical interpretation of the history of psychology. Modern psychology is estranged from what makes humans unique. What makes us human is that we are not merely behaviourist, neurocognitive or rational-economic machines that always behave in predictable ways: we are human when we wander off the main paths, are creative and mysterious. However, many models in psychology, and its associated disciplines such as economics, 'celebrate a carnival of inauthenticity' and miss our unique off-modern nature. Instead, to understand humans, we need art, experiences, relationships, community life, mystery and resistance. From an off-modern perspective, ideas about normal and abnormal, group and individual, start to turn upside down. This also undermines the illusion of linear progression of the field of psychology; instead, Roberts asks us to explore unforeseen ventures. Instead of what modern psychology makes us believe, Roberts shows that off-modern ideas are not uncommon in psychology. He gives many examples of psychologists, psychogeographs and psychotherapists whose ideas do not fit in a modern or postmodern psychology but go off-modern. Not only does this book offer new perspectives on the field of psychology, it also reads as a personal journey of the author, written in an almost poetic style with many examples from movies and art. This is a rare book in its depth, rigour and love for the off-modern. Anyone interested in how the future of psychology will look like, needs to read this book. -Dr Joel Vos, PhD, CPsychol, psychologist, philosopher ~ Dr. Joel Vos, Amazon
For the reader frustrated with the limitations of modernist psychology this book offers a thought-provoking alternative: an Off-Modern approach. Ron Roberts’ erudite and thought-provoking book explores the worlds of psychogeography and psychotherapy, drawing insights not only from scholars and researchers but also poets, artists, musicians and martial artists. Roberts offers those interested in psychology a new way of making the familiar strange and the strange familiar. ~ Dave Harper, Programme Director in Clinical Psychology, University of East London
This book is for sure off-psychology, taking us off on a journey away from the attempts to regulate who we are to a quite different way of reclaiming who we might be from the psychologists. If you thought psychology must be ‘modern’ then think again; this book is one way to off psychology. ~ Ian Parker, Professor of Management, University of Leicester