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Childhood and Society

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,047 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
The original and vastly influential ideas of Erik H. Erikson underlie much of our understanding of human development. His insights into the interdependence of the individuals' growth and historical change, his now-famous concepts of identity, growth, and the life cycle, have changed the way we perceive ourselves and society. Widely read and cited, his works have won numero ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published September 17th 1993 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1950)
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Eli Bishop
Sep 13, 2010 Eli Bishop rated it it was amazing
If you're only familiar with the condensed version of Erikson described in undergraduate psychology and child development classes (the stages of psychosocial development, with their neat pairings of opposed forces) then actually reading his defining book may be a surprise. In this mixed bag of personal case studies, theoretical wanderings, and psychological biography, he approaches Freudian theory as if it were a large stalled vehicle, takes it apart to reveal some unusual components, and then r ...more
Erik Graff
Dec 07, 2013 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: developmental psychologists
Recommended to Erik by: Dr. Bell
Shelves: psychology
We were assigned to read this book for the Human Growth and Development course taught by the Psychology Department at Union Theological Seminary in New York during the second semester of 1975/76. While I very much enjoyed Erikson's Young Man Luther and Gandhi's Truth, I found this rather boring.
Dec 28, 2012 Kristen rated it really liked it
Erikson has a very intriguing way of writing about psychology and sociology. It can be extremely dense, but some of his conclusions are so profound and eloquently said. This book is separated into case studies that vary from the Sioux Tribe to Hitler's childhood. His obsession with anal functioning and a dated view of sexuality was a bit annoying. I found his discussion about how the somatic, ego, and society affect the human neurosis and psychology very interesting. He loves the idea of play as ...more
Erik Akre
May 21, 2016 Erik Akre rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: experienced psychoanalists
It took me an awfully long time to get through this book. It was thick, dense, and difficult. I give it a low rating ultimately because I found that Erikson's prose was difficult to understand and somewhat obscure, although I have no doubt he knew what he was talking about, and he knew it well.

There is copious and detailed information about developmental stages, from a purely psychoanalytic standpoint. The psychoanalist will no doubt find it fascinating, and a must-read in the field. For a layma
Jan 14, 2015 Brendaliddy rated it it was amazing
I found this book fascinating and contained a wealth of knowledge and a range of insights from Erikson's clinical experience and his vast cultural and sociological expertise. He covered a wealth of topics, including childhood anxiety, apathy in Amercian Indians, confusion in war veterans and arrogance in young Nazis. I enjoyed reading about Fanny the Shaman, Jean and her mother and JIm the Sioux. He comments that his book is a subjective book, a conceptual itinerary.
An interesting quote is:'Poli
Christopher Howard
Mar 01, 2016 Christopher Howard rated it it was amazing
I definitely appreciate Erikson's sentiment. His prose is very easy to read, but also dusted with a literary flair. Psychology seems to me, at its best, to be a true literary science. I would hope that this would be an empowering statement for literature rather than a detracting statement for psychology. ( I fully realize empowering and detracting are poor words here but I can't think in the moment of a better wording.)

Erikson also seems to me to be steeped in humanism rather than humanitariani
Catherine Woodman
Jul 29, 2011 Catherine Woodman rated it really liked it
I love Erikson's 8 stages of man
Juliet Kanjukia
Jan 26, 2015 Juliet Kanjukia rated it really liked it
This book has been profound on the interpretation of human life, since childhood, in a psychoanalytic perspective. Laden with psychological jargon but I've learnt so much of anxiety, apathy and taming the id. A subjective book but interesting nonetheless.
Erikson opened up classical psychoanalysis to cultural influences and constraints when he published this work in 1952. It has since remained a classic of psychosocial literature. In this book Erikson proposes his general theory of the eight stages of psychosocial development across the life style (a reinterpretation and extension of Freud's five stages). He presents his work using the psychoanalytic terms and perspective, which might be a turn off to you if you dislike that school. However, the ...more
Jul 04, 2008 Thu rated it liked it
This book will probably feel more like an ethnography than an exploration of psychology to many people who read itbook today. I find it definitely a good read despite being an old text. I expected it to be like a very basic and outdated foundational psychology course, but I was surprised at how much of Erikson's insight is relevant to our times. Of course, the field has learned more since Erikson's time, but his writings are still surprisingly progressive.

I would suggest reading this book after
Mar 03, 2015 Crystal rated it liked it
This book proposed a lot of interesting topics and correlations. Some I agree with, some struck me as being very profound, and others I didn't agree with. I still think it's a good book for any psychology student.
Jun 10, 2012 John rated it it was amazing
The "Eight Stages of Man" chapter is really a must-read. It represents a certain way of thinking about the psyche that is very powerful and will make sense to anyone who's thought about developmental issues.
Aug 23, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it
Had to read this in order to familiarize myself better with Erikson's theories. Interesting to read the original text; it made me want to know more about Erikson's biography.
Oct 22, 2015 Trevor rated it liked it
Shelves: psychotherapy
Thoughtful reflections on the stages of life. Some of his ideas and observations are still relevant today but most are dated.
Izzatur Rahmaniyah
Oct 24, 2013 Izzatur Rahmaniyah rated it it was amazing
this books really helps me in writing my thesis :D
Nov 28, 2009 Shannon added it
Shelves: letting-go
From Hamilton Wenham HS library
Pierre Moessinger
Sep 17, 2010 Pierre Moessinger rated it did not like it
Definitely outmoded.
just start reading~~
Mar 01, 2010 Ann is currently reading it
Still reading - need it for my dissertation.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Why "Outmoded"? 1 4 Jun 10, 2012 07:18PM  
  • Separation: Anxiety and Anger (Attachment & Loss #2)
  • Mind in Society: Development of Higher Psychological Processes
  • The Language and Thought of the Child
  • Playing and Reality
  • Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense (The Writings of Anna Freud, Vol 2)
  • The Restoration of the Self
  • Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy: A Practitioner's Guide
  • The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud
  • Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders
  • For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence
  • Play Therapy
  • The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time
  • Art and Artist: Creative Urge and Personality Development
  • The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are
  • The Child With Special Needs: Encouraging Intellectual and Emotional Growth
Erik Erikson was a German-born American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on psychosocial development of human beings. He may be most famous for coining the phrase identity crisis. His son, Kai T. Erikson, is a noted American sociologist.

Although Erikson lacked even a bachelor's degree, he served as a professor at prominent institutions such as Harvard and Yale.
More about Erik H. Erikson...

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“Anxieties are diffuse states of tension (caused by a loss of mutual regulation and a consequent upset in libidinal and aggressive controls) which magnify and even cause the illusion of an outer danger, without pointing to appropriate avenues of defense or mastery.” 2 likes
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