Non-Fiction Books:

Understanding Critical Social Psychology


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Understanding Critical Social Psychology by Keith Tuffin
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"Interesting introduction to a growing field. "
2 stars"

Tuffin offers an easy-to-read introduction to Critical Social Psychology. For those not familiar with this growing area of psychological research, ‘Understanding Critical Social Psychology’ is a reasonable place to start. However this book is not without its faults.

Tuffin raises objections to traditional social experimental research with its dubious use of deception, political neutrality in the face of human rights issues, and quantitative methodology that aims to mirror the natural sciences. Tuffin outlines an alternative social constructivist approach that makes use of Discourse Analysis (DA). This gets ‘inside the correlation,’ showing how people use talk and text to construct their social reality.

Unfortunately, Tuffin makes use of the straw-man technique of making cognitive psychology out to be useless, under achieving, and not relevant to studies of language and reality. Granted Discourse Analysis is adept at explaining the dynamics of rhetoric and the loaded meaning behind word-choices, however after attempting to dismantle cognitive and social theories that give rise to prejudice, the question remains: what motivates people to think such things? Perhaps Tuffin goes to far with the DA, ignoring how language is also a product of human nature, follows certain linguistic rules, and maps onto fixed realities (as well as constructing of course).

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.


'This is a thoughtful, honest and accessible text which I would certainly recommend to students. The chapter ordering is excellent and should take the student through a logical progression from the more established to the more contemporary approaches in social psychology' - Ian Hodges, Westminster University 'It is written in a beautifully clear, engaging and conversational style which will make the book accessible and appealing to those encountering critical ideas for the first time...Students will find the book both interesting and easy to read, and their lecturers will find it a valuable teaching resource. I will certainly be recommending it to my second and third year undergraduates' - Viv Burr, University of Huddersfield Understanding Critical Social Psychology is an exciting new textbook providing a comprehensive and reader-friendly approach to the theories and methods surrounding Critical Social Psychology. For students taking a course in Critical Social Psychology, this book combines a critical examination of the traditional philosophies, practices and topics with an emphasis on introducing innovative and contemporary developments in social psychological research. In this way, Tuffin integrates newer insights with established modes of thinking. Key Features of this book include: " Student-friendly structure - contains numerous features suitable for undergraduate course use such as section summaries, further reading and a tutorial which answers students' questions about critical social psychology. " Broad framework - Positions newer insights in relation to the historical, theoretical and ideological roots of social psychology. Ideal for students taking a Critical Social Psychology module having already studied a mainstream course. " Applied focus - Understanding Critical Social Psychology tackles key themes in the discipline i.e. prejudice, politics, identity and emotions from critical perspectives. Written in a clear and accessible style, with illustrative data, detailed chapter summaries and key readings at the end of each section, it will be welcomed by undergraduates seeking to develop their understanding of critical social psychology.
Release date NZ
November 2nd, 2004
Country of Publication
United States
SAGE Publications Inc
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