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Relational Being: Beyond Self and Community 1st Edition

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195305388
ISBN-10: 0195305388
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Editorial Reviews


Winner of the Media Ecology Association's 2010 Erving Goffman Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Social Interaction!

Winner of the 2009 PROSE award in Psychology!

More than 40 PROSE Awards, including the top prize, the R.R. Hawkins Award, were presented on February 4, 2010, at a special Awards Luncheon during the PSP Annual Conference at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. A complete list of all winners can be found on the PROSE Awards website at:

Presented since 1976, the 2009 PROSE Awards received a record-breaking 441 entries--more than ever before in its 34-year history-- from more than 60 professional and scholarly publishers across the country.

"A marvelously likeable book, Relational Being faces us with an urgent and profound challenge. Jettisoning individualism entirely, Gergen demonstrates the sense and virtue of understanding all aspects of human reality through the lens of relationship. This argument for a new Enlightenment is a brave and passionate tour de force from one of our finest social scientists."--Benjamin Bradley, Chair, Psychology and Director, CSU Degree Initiative, Charles Sturt University

"Relational Being is a milestone on the road toward the Next Enlightenment-- an enlightenment that re-constructs "the bounded self" with an understanding of the primacy of relational being. There is not a "sounding" in this towering manifesto that leaves things as they are. Once we acknowledge that we are interwoven threads in the intricate tapestry of relational process-- in which our destiny is among us as opposed to within-- everything changes. If human connection can become as real to us as the traditional sense of individual separation, then our globally intimate future has a chance-- there is that much at stake in this forward-looking, pragmatic and inspirational Kenneth Gergen classic!"--David Cooperrider, Fairmount Minerals Professor of Social Entrepreneurship, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University

"This is a powerful, richly nuanced, evocative work; a stunning and brilliantly innovative pedagogical intervention. It provides ground zero-- the starting place for the next generation of theorists. Relational Being is a stunning accomplishment by one of America's major social theorists, and a visionary work." --Norman K. Denzin, Professor of Sociology, Cinema Studies, and Interpretive Theory, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

"A must-read for scholars, practitioners and the general public, this book gives promise and hope to our planet and our future well-being." --Harlene Anderson, Houston Galveston Institute

"Ken Gergen, the most original and insightful social psychologist of my generation, offers a hopeful and fresh framework for scholars and practitioners seeking a meaningful, useful, and creative approach to the cultural, political, personal, and professional struggles of our time. Professor Gergen writes with grace, compassion, and clarity and the story he tells is extraordinarily important and profound." --Arthur P. Bochner, Distinguinshed University Professor of Communication, University of South Florida

"...Relational Being promises to be a significant and useful contribution to psychological literature."--PsycCRITIQUES

"Simply put, Gergen asks: If this is the sense of self that is afforded, then what does this mean for the lives we live, and the lives we might aspire to live? Relational Being responds to this (impossible) question. The book presents a contemporary and inspiring response to questions about being, spirituality, and the practices and relations of everyday life. Gergen's approach avoids moralistic undertones and dense theorizing to provide a simple philosophy for everyday, postmodern life." -- International Journal of Communication

About the Author

Kenneth Gergen is Gil and Frank Mustin Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (July 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195305388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195305388
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.3 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Maria Paula Cespedes on July 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sometimes it's easy read and speak of certain theory or discurse. when i read this book i couldn't stop feeling me talking to K.Gergen, the writting is so profund and simple at
the time that i felt talking to my own consiousnes then i understand the relational being.... The next stop is to incorporate this awarness into daily Life! I'm very gratefull
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Format: Paperback
This work by Gergen is an extraordinary reach into a very different paradigm about how we be and do in the universe. His invitation to the reader to participate in meaning making is an interesting strategy to addressing the challenges of how our language keeps us stuck in paradigms such that Einstein warned us to beware lest we try to solve our problems using the same way of thinking, of meaning making, as those that generated our dilemmas in the first place.

Still, Gergen is opening the door, not closing it to further development of our sense and meaning making process and experience. Other reviews have addressed detail. I simply want to strongly encourage readers who are intested in finding well-grounded but fresh ways of understanding self in the universe to read this book.
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By Dr. Nancy M. O'donnell on April 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Should be required reading for all students of psychology. I had to buy this one because I gave away my previous copy to a colleague from Portugal whom I met at an international convention in Italdy
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By Rob Jackson on September 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Relational Being is a comprehensive guide into understanding a generative view of the world that has been emerging for centuries, and Dr. Gergen has successfully distilled the language for it.
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