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Cultural-Existential Psychology
The Role of Culture in Suffering and Threat

AUD$139.95 inc GST

  • Date Published: April 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107096868

AUD$ 139.95 inc GST

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About the Authors
  • Cultural psychology and experimental existential psychology are two of the fastest-growing movements in social psychology. In this book, Daniel Sullivan combines both perspectives to present a groundbreaking analysis of culture's role in shaping the psychology of threat experience. The first part of the book presents a new theoretical framework guided by three central principles: that humans are in a unique existential situation because we possess symbolic consciousness and culture; that culture provides psychological protection against threatening experiences, but also helps to create them; and that interdisciplinary methods are vital to understanding the link between culture and threat. In the second part of the book, Sullivan presents a novel program of research guided by these principles. Focusing on a case study of a traditionalist group of Mennonites in the midwestern United States, Sullivan examines the relationship between religion, community, guilt, anxiety, and the experience of natural disaster.

    • Offers a new theoretical perspective on the role of culture in people's experience of suffering and threat
    • Synthesizes research on the relationship between culture and threat across psychology, philosophy, anthropology and sociology
    • Presents a unique case study documenting how culture shapes the experience of threat among rural Mennonites in the United States
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'With this book, we welcome in an exciting new field of cultural-existential psychology that is not only deeply theoretical but supported by innovative research by the author. It should be of broad interest across disciplines and is a must-read for any scholar or practitioner interested in the study of culture.' Michele Gelfand, University of Maryland

    'We would describe Sullivan's efforts as highly ambitious and insightful. Due to the salience that American politics and the associated culture clash have recently enjoyed, there is a possibility that we are, in part, prisoners of the moment, but we think not. Sullivan is clearly on to something in his attempt to bring an appreciation of culture and cultural differences to the study of the ways in which individuals deal with suffering and threat. For the betterment of psychological science as well as our own conscience, we hope that he continues to integrate these important areas of research.' William L. Dunlop and Calen Horton, PsycCRITIQUES

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107096868
    • length: 314 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • contains: 9 b/w illus. 7 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Theory:
    1. Theoretical roots of cultural-existential psychology
    2. Fundamental principles of cultural-existential psychology
    3. A model of existential threat
    4. Cultural variation as patterns of social orientation and control
    5. Cultural threat orientations: disorientation-avoidance and despair-avoidance
    Part II. Research:
    6. Modernization and changes in attitudes toward suffering among Kansas Mennonites
    7. Cultural threat orientations among traditionalist Mennonites, Unitarian Universalists, and college students
    8. Transcendence versus redemption in the experience of a natural disaster
    Part III. Implications:
    9. Cultural-existential psychology and contemporary society
    Appendix A. Guide to key abbreviations and terms
    Appendix B. Data analyses, Chapter 6
    Appendix C. Methodology and questionnaire items, Chapter 7
    Appendix D. Data analyses, Chapter 7.

  • Author

    Daniel Sullivan, University of Arizona
    Daniel Sullivan is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Arizona, Tucson. He is the author of several articles and book chapters on topics in experimental existential psychology, including terror management theory, enemy relations and conspiracy theories, and interpretations of suffering and victimhood. He has also written on film and literature, and is the co-editor of Death in Classic and Contemporary Film: Fade to Black (with Jeff Greenberg, 2013).

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