Book Reviews

Book Reviews

New Frontiers in Creativity

"Shulamith Kreitler’s New Frontiers in Creativity has collected the work of international experts from “Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Israel, Portugal, Romania, Russia, and USA,” and they bring fresh methods to the study of creativity, including neurophysiology, statistics, and mathematics (Kreitler, 2020, p. x); they also identify greater ranges of populations who create “ranging from the dyslexic to the elderly” (p. x), and they address a range of domains in which creativity is newly applied. This book is comprised of three parts: Creativity from Specific Perspectives (Part 1), Creativity in Specific Populations (Part 2), and Creativity in Specific Domains (Part 3). New Frontiers in Creativity is an ambitious collection of insightful works that wrangle with complex issues of human creativity in general and in specific domains. While many of the 13 chapters are based on informed deep literature reviews, some works share primary (qualitative) research. These chapters offer fresh insights to creativity theorizing, research, and applied practice.

Dr. Shulamith Kreitler, editor of New Frontiers in Creativity (2020), is Professor Emeritus at the School of Psychological Sciences in Tel-Aviv University in Israel and head of psychooncology research center at the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer. Her “major interests and publications are in cognition, creativity, personality , and health psychology.” During her career, she has published over 20 scientific books and 200 articles (2020, pp. 419 – 420). This book is part of the Perspectives on Cognitive Psychology series, with Nova Science Publishers."
Shalin Hai-Jew
Kansas State University

Preeminence of Myth and the Decline of Instrumental Reason

"No reader will be bored by this text. Myth is made worldly and relevant, as the authors address everyday concerns, particularly the fragmentation that is now experienced practically everywhere. The chapters are united by the work of Jean Gebser and particularly the emerging “integral” reality. Most important, like Gebser, the authors go beyond current calls for holism to reveal a more dynamic, inclusionary moment—a place, as some Latin American scholars say, where everyone fits with dignity."
John W. Murphy
Professor of Sociology
University of Miami
Florida
USA

"Pandemic and political chaos are the dramatic image that Culture sees when it looks in the mirror today. Jean Gebser explicates that mirror for us as the enduring contest (agon) between Myth and Reason in the forgetfulness (mermera) of the human mind. The mind’s “inner voice” (mythos) envelopes the embodied “outer voice” (lógos) as the search for the awareness of, for the compassionate fairness of, reasonableness (eulógos). These collected essays are the “must have” insightful guidebook for using Gebser’s mirror of Culture."
Richard L. Lanigan
Director and Laureate Fellow
International Communicology Institute
Washington, D.C.
Fellow, Polish Academy of Science

"This collection of essays, each rigorously attuned to the work of Jean Gebser, attend to a fractured and fragmented world in crisis. Gebser’s philosophical thought offers hope for a future that invites inclusion, empathy, and social justice—where communities enjoin human worth. Gebser reveals regions of human awareness that naturally disclose the co-presence of mythos in all experiences. Each chapter opens the mythic in instructive ways. An integral consciousness counters instrumental reason and opens opportunities for the integral to illuminate and guide human action."
Annette M. Holba
Professor of Rhetoric
Plymouth State University
New Hampshire
USA

Differences in the City: Postmetropolitan Heterotopias as Liberal Utopian Dreams

An essential book in order to understand the return of a concept (“heterotopia”) that never left."
Luis Arenas
Former President of the Academic Society of Philosophy (Sociedad Académica de Filosofía)
Spain

This indispensable book carefully assesses the emancipatory potential of the polysemic Foucaldian term of “heterotopia” when used to analyse and evaluate various geopolitical and ideological urban contexts, besides and beyond Western-centered “topoi”. Timely and deeply original, the book will prove fundamental both for architects and urban planners on one hand, and social scientists on the other hand - anyone interested in understanding metropolitan processes of social resistance and minority empowerment."
Magali Bessone
Institute of Legal and Philosophical Sciences (Institut des Sciences Juridique et Philosophique)
University of Paris 1- Panthéon-Sorbonne
France

“Aggressive, militant, controversial, incorrect... An appealing book that does not walk around the beaten tracks. An excellent collective work that wakes you up from neoliberal urban dreams."
Ignacio Borrego
Institute of Architecture (Institut für Architektur)
University of Technology
Berlin, Germany

Anger: From Primordial Rage to the Politics of Hatred and Resentment

This work explores and analyzes anger. We examine anger as a single emotion and as it occurs in combination with other emotions in complex social relationships that typically involve power dynamics. We utilize Robert Plutchik’s primary-emotions classification to hierarchically categorize anger and other basic and complex emotions, and we compare constructivist and basic-emotion theories of emotion. We conceptualize the primary emotions––including anger––as prototypical adaptive reactions to key existential problems: temporality, social identity, exchange, and hierarchy. Anger is uniquely reactive to positive and negative experiences of social power, elicited by a perceived threat to the self or to the self's project to preserve or attain valued status, resources, or goals. Anger triggers activate a three-stage sociocognitive appraisal process in which the self: (i) perceives its social position or valued resource is at stake; (ii) endeavors to modify another actor's social intentions concerning norms of social sharing and social cohesion; and (iii) develops an intentional act. We identify two complex emotions––hatred and resentment––-as essential political emotions. Both share anger as a key component, and also include contempt. Hatred can be harnessed for pernicious ends, becoming an expression or instrument of power; resentment is more typically an emotion of the powerless, arising as a reaction to unjustified suffering. We examine the place of anger, hatred, resentment, and other emotions of power and powerlessness in contemporary United States politics, particularly to competing political ideologies of globalism–neoliberalism, democratic socialism, and nationalism–populism.

Positive Psychology and School Leadership

"There is a clear and urgent need to apply principles of positive psychology, positive leadership, and positive organizational practices to educational institutions. Compelling research shows that the performance and well-being of both students and teachers are significantly enhanced by the principles discussed in this book. Jolanta Burke has written a straightforward and clear explanation of how positive leadership can produce this outcome. It is a much-needed contribution."
Professor Kim Cameron
Founder of the Positive Organisational Scholarship
University of Michigan
USA

"Clearly written, accessible and inspiring, Burke delivers a cutting-edge tour of positive psychology theory that celebrates the history and evolution of the field. Burke’s background as a psychologist, researcher and leader shines throughout the book. Readers are treated to a skillfully developed and engaging narrative that signposts strategies leaders can adopt to shape more holistic and caring cultures in their organisations. As we globally struggle to find better ways to support each other during the COVID19 pandemic, provocations to shape how we bounce back and adopt more positive practices in our schools are most welcome. Every once in a while, I buy a book in multiple copies because I know that my students and colleagues will be borrowing them, often. This is one of those books!!"
Dr. Karen Edge
London Centre for Leadership in Learning
University College London
UK

"Dr. Jolanta Burke has written a must-read book. Packed with insightful and expert knowledge, and with a direct writing style, the book offers a right balance between theory and practice. It introduces an original and provocative perspective to apply the latest research in the science of positive psychology in educational contexts and to encourage leaders to use new approaches to confront some of the main issues in school communities. During these challenging times for education, this is an evidence-based inspirational text for those who want to create schools in which everybody can flourish and thrive. As a lecturer in this field, I recommend this book as the perfect choice for every school leader and teacher, and every course in education studies."
Dr Andrea Giraldez-Hayes
Director of Master’s in Applied Positive Psychology
University of East London
UK

"This is an important text and a very significant contribution to an aspect of school leadership that is growing in importance. Dr Burke has opened a door that has been locked or ignored for many years. Positive psychology offers important perspectives and a range of strategies that have great potential to challenge prevailing orthodoxies and provide a sophisticated conceptual framework that integrates academic rigour with professional relevance. This text will enhance academic programmes, school based professional development and personal reflection and learning."
Professor John West-Burnham
Educational Leadership Expert
University of Worcester
UK

"Dr. Burke has written an important book and I expect Positive Psychology and School Leadership to become essential reading for both practitioners and academics working in the field of educational leadership and management. It is a timely book given the levels of stress and performativity associated with headship today, and a refreshing take on a much-neglected aspect: how to go deep into the minds and motivations of stakeholders to help them get the best out of themselves, and create the positive school culture that we know from educational effectiveness research matters so much to students and teachers alike."
Professor Anthony Kelly
Educational Leadership Expert
University of Southampton
UK

"We have now reached a point in the development of positive psychology that its findings can be applied in a variety of settings to improve well-being and functioning. Nowhere is this more important than in our educational system. In this book, Dr Burke skillfully brings together relevant findings from positive psychology research and leadership theory to provide a wide-ranging guide for school leaders. She blends her own experience as an educational and academic leader with a rigorous assessment of the research literature on positive leadership in schools. Today there is widespread and growing interest in positive education, an approach that blends academic achievement with the development of strengths, resilience and character. This approach has been shown to be effective, not only in increasing children’s well-being, but also in enhancing their academic achievement. Dr. Burke’s work here on positive leadership in schools adds an important dimension to this vital new approach to education."
Professor Ciaran O’Boyle
Founding Director of RCSI Institute of Leadership
Director of RCSI Centre for Positive Psychology and Health

Social Psychology and Counseling: Issues and Applications

Counseling psychology has changed significantly during the last century. This book has recognized these changes and will help teachers, providers and researchers prepare future counseling psychologists for what they will need to know. Future counseling psychologists must be able to have more than the skills needed to help individuals develop mental well-being, a concept of self and an ability to function in everyday life. Counseling psychologists will need to understand how environmental influences such as cultural, gender and lifestyle issues shape one’s experiences. They must know how issues such as race, poverty, sexual orientation and climate change relate to helping those with whom they work develop the ability to function effectively. Moreover, counseling psychologists must be prepared to respond when these cultural issues became social movements and to work with topics such as diversity, social justice and advocacy. - Steven J. Danish, Ph.D. ABPP, President, Life Skills Associates, LLC, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA

I believe it will be a wonderful companion for several classes in a graduate counseling program (master’s level): Human Development, Theories of Personality, Counseling Techniques and Skills. In my opinion, having students learn about particular social issues and personality variables and the associated social psychological research allows them to increase their ability to contextualize their clients and understand the socio-cultural and individual complexities of working with the populations/clinical issues included in the book. Having contributors who are involved in teaching, research, and practice is another strength of this volume. - Kathryn L. Norsworthy, Ph.D., Professor and Licensed, Psychologist, Rollins College Graduate Studies in Counseling, USA

For more information about this book, please click here.

Bring My Smile Back: Working with Unhappy Children in Education

“Children’s wellbeing and happiness have become matters of global concern. This important and exciting collection edited by Dr Maria Efstratopoulou and Dr Maria Sofologi brings together the work of an impressive team of international social science scholars and practitioners to address these challenges. Its timing could hardly be better!” - Professor Scott Fleming, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, UK

“A brilliant book for professionals in education who are interested in happiness and wellbeing. This book doesn’t shy away from the challenges our children face in their day to day lives, it embraces working together collaboratively to concentrate on emotions first which enables learning to follow.” - Mel Standbrook, Director at Go Empower & Chair of Governors

For more information about this book, please click here.

The End of Suicidology: Can We Ever Understand Suicide?

"This book may well mark a historic turning point for suicidology: not the end, but a re-awakening. This is a wake-up call." - C. A. Soper, PhD, Author of “The Evolution of Suicide”

For more information about this book, please click here.

A Critical Introduction to Psychology

“I would have loved to have this book available when I first started teaching psychology. Its clear description and critical analysis of major themes running through the typical Introduction to Psychology course should prove invaluable to anyone teaching that course today or planning to do so in the future, as well as to anyone curious about mainstream psychology’s culturally determined biases. The book is a useful, thought-provoking corrective to unexamined assumptions, an excellent choice for seminars on the interplay between mainstream psychology and other institutions that reinforce a status quo that leaves little room for diverse non-Western perspectives. Even non-critical psychologists will find much to ponder here, along with a steady stream of observations to spark student interest.” - Dennis Fox, PhD, Emeritus Associate Professor of Legal Studies & Psychology, University of Illinois at Springfield, Co-founder, Radical Psychology Network

“This is an ‘introduction’ to psychology that is not merely ‘critical’ as a first step, but it traces a fully critical journey around the discipline, enabling the reader to develop their own theory and practice in such a way as to question the parameters of academically-enclosed images of the individual.” - Ian Parker, PhD, Psychoanalyst in Manchester, UK, Honorary Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, Secretary of Manchester Psychoanalytic Matrix, President of the College of Psychoanalysts, UK

“A Critical Introduction to Psychology provides the reader with a timely, original and thought-provoking analysis of modern psychology, which offers a valuable perspective on the existing status-quo of psychology as an academic discipline. This book is a ‘must-read’ and an invitation to all scholars, teachers and students of psychology to critically reflect upon the reductionist conceptualizations and ideologies inherent in the discourses of introductory textbooks of psychology. As such the authors of Beshara’s edited volume introduce a compelling account on how a transdisciplinary and pluralistic approach to psychology provides a more inclusive, holistic and diverse view of human identity, behavior and cognition consistent with developments in history, philosophy, society, culture and the sciences.” - Laura Cariola, PhD, Honorary Fellow and Tutor in Clinical Psychology, The University of Edinburgh, Co-founder of Language and Psychoanalysis, Social Science Protocols, and Language and Mind Research Network, Leader editor of the book series “Language, Discourse and Mental Health”

"Robert Beshara’s edited book, A Critical Introduction to Psychology, is timely and historic. The volume brings together a collection of radical and cutting edge essays on critical psychology that provide an accessible counter narrative to the standard story of EuroAmerican psychology. What I found extraordinarily compelling about this book is the new humane and inclusive vision that Beshara lays out for the future of psychology. Questions about decolonization and decoloniality are the core of this vision and the book narrates a story of psychology that beautifully integrates psychoanalysis, humanistic and discursive psychology, feminism, anti-psychiatry, post-structuralism, liberation psychology, as well as theories from postcolonial studies. This book is bound to become a classic that will be read by undergraduate and graduate students across several disciplines and across generations. " - Sunil Bhatia, PhD, Professor of Human Development, Chair of the Human Development Department, Connecticut College

For more information about this book, please click here.