296 episodes

Interviews with Psychologists about their New Books

New Books in Psychology New Books Network

    • Science

Interviews with Psychologists about their New Books

    Owen Whooley, "On the Heels of Ignorance: Psychiatry and the Politics of Not Knowing" (U Chicago Press, 2019)

    Owen Whooley, "On the Heels of Ignorance: Psychiatry and the Politics of Not Knowing" (U Chicago Press, 2019)

    Psychiatry has always aimed to peer deep into the human mind, daring to cast light on its darkest corners and untangle its thorniest knots, often invoking the latest medical science in doing so. But, as Owen Whooley’s sweeping new book tells us, peering deep into the human mind is, well, really hard.
    On the Heels of Ignorance: Psychiatry and the Politics of Not Knowing (University Chicago Press, 2019) begins with psychiatry’s formal inception in the United States in the 1840s and moves through two centuries of constant struggle simply to define and redefine mental illness, to say nothing of the best way to treat it. Whooley’s book is no anti-psychiatric screed, however; instead, he reveals a field that has muddled through periodic reinventions and conflicting agendas of curiosity, compassion, and professional striving. On the Heels of Ignorance draws from intellectual history and the sociology of professions to portray an ongoing human effort to make sense of complex mental phenomena using an imperfect set of tools, with sometimes tragic results.
    In this interview, Dr. Whooley and I discuss the sociology of knowledge and ignorance that guide this book. We then discuss the changing identity of the field of psychiatry, how the DSM affected the legitimacy and perception of the discipline, and ways of managing ignorance. I highly recommend this book for students, professors, and anyone else interested in sociology of knowledge, health and illness and medical sociology, historical sociology, and mental health.
    Dr. Owen Whooley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of New Mexico and Senior Fellow, UNM Center for Health Policy.
    Krystina Millar is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. Her research interests include gender, sociology of the body, and sexuality. You can find her on Twitter at @KrystinaMillar.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Matt Cook, "Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy" (MIT Press, 2020)

    Matt Cook, "Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy" (MIT Press, 2020)

    Paradox is a sophisticated kind of magic trick. A magician's purpose is to create the appearance of impossibility, to pull a rabbit from an empty hat. Yet paradox doesn't require tangibles, like rabbits or hats. Paradox works in the abstract, with words and concepts and symbols, to create the illusion of contradiction. There are no contradictions in reality, but there can appear to be. In Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy (MIT Press, 2020), Matt Cook and a few collaborators dive deeply into more than 75 paradoxes in mathematics, physics, philosophy, and the social sciences. As each paradox is discussed and resolved, Cook helps readers discover the meaning of knowledge and the proper formation of concepts―and how reason can dispel the illusion of contradiction.
    The journey begins with “a most ingenious paradox” from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. Readers will then travel from Ancient Greece to cutting-edge laboratories, encounter infinity and its different sizes, and discover mathematical impossibilities inherent in elections. They will tackle conundrums in probability, induction, geometry, and game theory; perform “supertasks”; build apparent perpetual motion machines; meet twins living in different millennia; explore the strange quantum world―and much more.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 54 min
    Baptiste Brossard, "Why do We Hurt Ourselves? Understanding Self-Harm in Social Life" (Indiana UP, 2018)

    Baptiste Brossard, "Why do We Hurt Ourselves? Understanding Self-Harm in Social Life" (Indiana UP, 2018)

    Why does an estimated 5% of the general population intentionally and repeatedly hurt themselves? What are the reasons certain people resort to self-injury as a way to manage their daily lives?
    In Why do We Hurt Ourselves? Understanding Self-Harm in Social Life (Indiana University Press, 2018), sociologist Baptiste Brossard draws on a five-year survey of self-injurers and suggests that the answers can be traced to social, more than personal, causes. Self-injury is not a matter of disturbed individuals resorting to hurting themselves in the face of individual weaknesses and difficulties. Rather, self-injury is the reaction of individuals to the tensions that compose, day after day, the tumultuousness of their social life and position. Self-harm is a practice that people use to self-control and maintain order—to calm down, or to avoid "going haywire" or "breaking everything." More broadly, through this research Brossard works to develop a perspective on the contemporary social world at large, exploring quests for self-control in modern Western societies.
    In this interview, Dr. Brossard and I discuss how he came to study self-injury, managing the stigma of self-injury, how people use online forums for community, the discrete nature of self-injury, and the role of gender. I recommend this book for people interested in mental health, stigma, deviant behavior, and qualitative methods.
    Dr. Baptiste Brossard, (@BaptistBrossard) a French sociologist, is a lecturer at the Australian National University. He received his PhD in sociology at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (2011). His primary areas of research are mental health, sociological theory, qualitative methods and utopian studies.
    Krystina Millar is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. Her research interests include gender, sociology of the body, and sexuality. You can find her on Twitter at @KrystinaMillar.
     
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 50 min
    Great Books: Peter Brooks on Freud's "Civilization and its Discontents"

    Great Books: Peter Brooks on Freud's "Civilization and its Discontents"

    We want to be happy, we want to get what we want, we want to love and be loved. But life, even when our basic needs are met, often makes us unhappy. You can't always get what you want, Freud noted in his 1930 short book, Civilization and its Discontents. Our desires are foiled not by bad luck, our failures, or the environment -- but by the civilization meant to make life better. So why isn't civilization set up to maximize our happiness and pleasure? Why does more civilization also mean more psychological suffering?
    In his trenchant short book, Freud shows how culture is not the refinement of humanity but an effort to socialize everyone into a system that produces the types of "discontents" and "unease" which characterize modern existence.
    I spoke with Peter Brooks, an expert on Freud who has taught at Yale, Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, the University of Virginia and other universities. He's authored many books, including: Troubling Confessions: Speaking Guilt in Law and Literature (2000), Psychoanalysis and Storytelling (1994), Reading for the Plot (1984), and, with Alex Woloch, Whose Freud? (2000). Professor Brooks linked Freud's Civilization and its Discontents to the earlier Thoughts for the Times on War and Death where Freud noticed that the veneer of civilized behavior was thin indeed, and that within months of the beginning of World War I people who had co-existed peacefully were capable of inflicting the most gruesome violence on their neighbors.
    I asked him: if civilization and progress inevitably leads to more psychological suffering, what's our way out?
    Uli Baer is a professor at New York University. He is also the host of the excellent podcast "Think About It"
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 52 min
    Elise Berman, "Talking Like Children: Language and the Production of Age in the Marshall Islands" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    Elise Berman, "Talking Like Children: Language and the Production of Age in the Marshall Islands" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    Since World War II, the fate of the Marshal Islands has been tied to the United States. The Marshalls were a site of military testing, host a US military base, and many Marshallese migrate to the US to pursue education and economic opportunity. Yet there are few books about Marshallese culture which are short and readable. In Talking Like Children: Language and the Production of Age in the Marshall Islands (Oxford University Press, 2019), Elise Berman shows us the complexities of Marshallese life and reveals the way that age, a central part of Marshallese culture, is not biologically given but culturally constructed. It's an accessible, short book that will appeal to both academic and nonacademic audiences with an interest in Marshalls or Micronesian culture more generally.
    In this podcast host Alex Golub talks with Berman about being an American doing fieldwork in the Marshalls, what age is and how it is achieved through interaction, the differences between American (and broadly Western) approaches to language and power and Marshallese approaches, and how Elise turned her dissertation into a short and accessible book.
    Elise Berman is a linguistic, cultural, and psychological anthropologist engaged with the interdisciplinary fields of education and communication. She has worked with the Chabad-Lubavitch, the K’iche’ Maya in Guatemala, and the Marshallese in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
    Alex Golub is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He is the editor of a special number of Anthropological Forum on "The Politics of Order in Contemporary Papua New Guinea".
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Phillipa Chong, “Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times” (Princeton UP, 2020)

    Phillipa Chong, “Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times” (Princeton UP, 2020)

    How does the world of book reviews work? In Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times (Princeton University Press, 2020), Phillipa Chong, assistant professor in sociology at McMaster University, provides a unique sociological analysis of how critics confront the different types of uncertainty associated with their practice. The book explores how reviewers get matched to books, the ethics and etiquette of negative reviews and ‘punching up’, along with professional identities and the future of criticism. The book is packed with interview material, coupled with accessible and easy to follow theoretical interventions, creating a text that will be of interest to social sciences, humanities, and general readers alike.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 42 min

Top Podcasts In Science

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by New Books Network