Recommendations for developmental pysch thinkers/books?
June 30, 2011 6:37 AM   Subscribe

Calling developmental psych people (especially those who work with adult development): What should I be reading?

I've been reading some work by Robert Kegan (specifically The Evolving Self and In Over Our Heads) and loving it. I find developmental psych interesting, but I have been particularly enjoying Kegan's focus on adults and adult development.

I don't know much about the field though, so I don't even know whether his approach is controversial, wide-spread, totally groundbreaking, or what. But I know that I found it really interesting and thought-provoking.

So, given that, what else should I be reading? I'm looking for books, articles, authors, and/or buzzwords in the field that will help me find more stuff like this. Would also be open to recommendations for work that is counter to Kegan's but would help me understand the context of the field better.

posted by aka burlap to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: (IANADPP. Probably ignored by the mainstream, but really interesting and thought-provoking, and painstakingly researched: It builds on Jane Loevinger's work, which is also really interesting.)
posted by zeek321 at 6:57 AM on June 30, 2011

Best answer: One of the challenges of stage theories of human developmeent is that they establish a hierarchy of value--- with the idea that these are the stages people should go through, with higher stages considered to be more "evolved" than lower stages. The problem is that people take the stages as being somehow internal to the person, and therefore "natural". But the expectations of those stages are culturally bound and change over time. One snap example---people in later life in the 1950's and 1960's were expected, if they were mentally healthy, to withdraw from social life.people who didn't want to, or were depressed about it were considered abnormal. They weren't progressing through their stage correctly.

That's old school human development that is still taught and is widely utilized in agency settings. I haven't read Kegen---but it looks like he can handle issues of modernity and post modernity/social constructivism quite well. Which isn't exactly "new school" given that its been around for decades---but still fails to get a foothold in real-world settings.

I recommend Anthony Giddens and Ken Gergen. You can also scan Kegen's reference sections to see who he's reading.
posted by vitabellosi at 8:13 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Heh! I DID read Kegen, a few years ago. Found The Evolving Self on my bookshelf today. Made lots of notes in the book-- which means I liked it.
posted by vitabellosi at 7:52 PM on July 2, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, great suggestions!
posted by aka burlap at 6:50 AM on July 8, 2011

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