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A thought-provoking and engaging investigation into the strengths and weaknesses of identity politics and the role they play in today’s world. Written by Professor David Pilgrim, an experienced academic researcher in psychology and sociology and an accomplished author, who won the 2006 British Medical Association’s Medical Book of the Year award (with co-author Anne Rogers). Pilgrim applies critical realism to the psychosocial topic of identity politics with practical implications for social policy, particularly in relation to child protection and mental health work. The work explores a number of key topics, including freedom of expression, sex and gender, race, mental health, religion, and class.
Paperback, e-Book, Print & e-Book
Psychosocial Studies, Political Theory, Psychoanalysis
Identity politics have taken a strong hold on modern society, in particular online on social media platforms. But to what extent have they contributed to human flourishing? Have they changed the world for the better, and to what extent? David Pilgrim explores identity politics as a ‘curate’s egg’: good and bad in parts. The good, that they shine light on topics that may previously have been neglected. The bad, their tendency towards absolutism and premature certainties. The world is nuanced and contradictory, and our awareness of it is highly partial. Identity politics are an inadequate response to that complexity and mystery of life. They take away the need to give free expression to all views, including those we may not only disagree with but might also find offensive. Pilgrim re-establishes a realist objection to strong social constructivist arguments within social science about gender, sexualities, and putative moral panics.
This accessible book is a must-read for anyone with an interest in contemporary policy formation or reform. It will appeal to students and professionals from the fields of sociology, politics, social policy, social work, philosophy, mental health, and public health.
David Pilgrim, PhD, is Honorary Professor of Health and Social Policy at the University of Liverpool and Visiting Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Southampton. Now semi-retired, he trained and worked in the NHS as a clinical psychologist before completing a PhD in psychology and then a Masters in sociology. With this mixed background, his career was split then between clinical work, teaching and mental health policy research. He remains active in the Division of Clinical Psychology and the History and Philosophy Section of the British Psychological Society, and was Chair of the latter between 2015 and 2018.
His publications include Understanding Mental Health: A Critical Realist Exploration (Routledge, 2015) and Key Concepts in Mental Health (5th edition, Sage, 2019). Others include A Sociology of Mental Health and Illness (Open University Press, 2005 – winner of the 2006 BMA Medical Book of the Year Award), Mental Health Policy in Britain (Palgrave, 2002) and Mental Health and Inequality (Palgrave, 2003) (all with Anne Rogers). His recent books are Child Sexual Abuse: Moral Panic or State of Denial? (Routledge, 2018) and Critical Realism for Psychologists (Routledge, 2020).
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