- Series: Problem and Process in Human Development
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Harvard University Press; Reprint edition (June 3, 1982)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674272315
- ISBN-13: 978-0674272316
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Evolving Self: Problem and Process in Human Development Reprint Edition
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Kegan acknowledges a debt to Piaget, Kohlberg, and the psychoanalytic object-relations theorists. He regards his theory as a synthesis and extension of their views, resulting in a developmental theory that presents a unified conceptualization of affective, cognitive, and moral development. Individual chapters are devoted to each of six developmental stages--their growth and loss. The last chapter explores the implications of the theory for psychotherapy and for implementing growth in everyday life...The theory is elegant...There is much food for thought and many hypotheses for research in Kegan's book. If one has not appreciated the importance of meaning-making as a central concept in personality theorizing, the book might even propel one into the next stage. More likely, the reader will...obtain some important new insights. All in all I recommend the book highly. (Seymour Epstein Contemporary Psychology)
Kegan's great contribution is his description of the powers and difficulties entailed in each of these bases for conducting relations with self and others and his systematizing of considerations involved in changing from one basis to another...Kegan's is indeed a provocative contribution! (Guy E. Swanson American Journal of Education)
Replete with literary allusions and personal anecdotes, this scholarly and appealing discourse represents a fascinating appraisal of the evolution of the self, devoting particular attention to the role of environmental forces which may have crucial impact on the individual. It evaluates, compares, and contrasts the contributions of Piaget, Erikson, Freud, Kohlberg, and others in a refreshing and informative fashion. Written by a clinician, the book also proposes a thought-provoking metatheory of therapy and considers the topic of depression from an evolutionary orientation. [This work is] well articulated and comprehensive in scope. (Lucille F. Halgin Library Journal)
Robert Kegan has created a new perspective of personality development, focusing on the dynamics of the evolving self. The perspective integrates two universal human processes--meaning-making and social development--into a scheme that can be used to derive testable generalizations and simultaneously inform the practice of therapy. A very tall order which he fulfills admirably. (Chris Argyris)
Kegan has written a vigorous, exhilarating, and brilliant book. If it is read with the same grace and modesty and aliveness with which it is written, it could make psychotherapy more useful, psychology richer, and speculation on the nature of being human infinitely more rewarding. (Robert L. Grossman)
A landmark book...[It] proposes to integrate thought and emotion in human development and I responded to it on this double level. Breathlessly I encountered all the disparate ideas I had had about human development in the last ten years, all under one single solidly constructed theoretical roof...It is a book about meaning-making which revises one's own meaning-making in very profound ways. (Sophie Freud Lowenstein Review of Psychoanalytic Books)
A major contribution to the human development literature. Like Freud, Kegan's literary style matches the brilliance of his insights. (William R. Torbert, Boston College)
Robert Kegan has created a new perspective of personality development, focusing on the dynamics of the evolving self. The perspective integrates two universal human processes--meaning-making and social development--into a scheme that can be used to derive testable generalizations and simultaneously inform the practice of therapy. A very tall order which he fulfills admirably. (Chris Argyris) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
As has been mentioned, many aspects in this book can be related to Humberto Maturana's work of auto-poeisis. Both concepts stress a person's evolution to understand an entity better. That is, in Maturana's concept, a culture's history of evolution must be understood to understand how it functions as a system, the same with Kegan's concept that applies to the person. There are many other similarities, such as when a balance is present, it is not attended to or not as noticed as when something is in disequilibrium or 'broken.' Maturana stresses the same about the biological processes that occur seamlessly unless something threatens its seamless process or existence. There are too many to list here.
As other reviewers have said, the language is sometimes inaccessible and borders on the turgid at times, but my sense is that this is a by-product of Kegan's commitment to a holistic unfolding of his thesis. Even though it has nearly 30 years of age on it, this work rewards the reader with a deeper understanding of important dimensions of our shared humanity, which in turn allows a greater depth of respect for the individual.
Another thing that may be of interest: for me, Kegan's treatment of the subject, including his emphases on biology, evolution and self in action, have many correspondences with the work of Humberto Maturana, the biologist. Maturana speaks of "human doings" (rather than human beings), and reading Kegan in the light of Maturana's view of the autopoietic nature of biological life and his notion of close structural coupling illuminate Kegan's "balancing" of the different dynamics of inclusion and autonomy in a rich way.
Now a word of warning: the Kindle edition is a decidedly inferior ripoff. Numerous times, illustrations are missing, replaced with a terse "to view this image, refer to the print version of this title". Who do these people think they are? It seems like sheer thoughtless laziness on Harvard's and/or Amazon's part; the kind of arrogant laziness that large corporations pretending to compete in a monopoly or "cozy oligopoly" marketplace seem to think they can get away with. This omission greatly subtracts from the reading experience and to me is tantamount to misleading and deceptive conduct. Don't buy the Kindle, get it from your library.
It is very annoying that all illustrations cannot be seen in the ebook version, but always refers to the printed version.
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Savor the distinctions that make Bob Kegan's work unique.
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