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National Character: A Psycho-Social Perspective (Paperback)
  • National Character: A Psycho-Social Perspective (Paperback)
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National Character: A Psycho-Social Perspective (Paperback)

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£37.99
Paperback 406 Pages / Published: 30/11/2014
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Seen in modern perspective, the concept of national character poses fundamental problems for social science theory and research: To what extent do conditions of life in a particular society give rise to certain patterns in the personalities of its members? What are the consequences?

Alex Inkeles surveys various definitions of national character, tracing developments through the twentieth century. His approach is to examine the regularity of specific personality patterns among individuals in a society. He argues that modal personality may be extremely important in determining which new cultural elements are accepted and which institutional forms persist in a society. Reviewing previous studies, Inkeles canvasses the attitudes and psychological states of different nations in an effort to discover a set of values in the United States. He concludes that, despite recent advances in the field, there is much to be done before we can have a clear picture of the degree of differentiation in the personality structure of modern nations.

Until now, there were few formal definitions and discussions on national character and the limits of this field of study. This book will be of great interest to psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, and political theorists.

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
ISBN: 9781412854962
Number of pages: 406
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"This seminal volume of vast comparative scope and high erudition will prove indispensable for all interested in this theme."

--Political Studies

"Alex Inkeles has made significant contributions to three important research themes of the twentieth century. . . . All of Inkeles' work has this threefold mark of continuity with the past, theoretical and methodological imagination, and uncompromising rigor. His new book National Character, reflects these qualities. . . . Alex Inkeles has carried the torch of social science scholarship in an especially steady and consistent way over the last half century, without abatement of creativity, or yielding to fads, in times when powerful political currents have corrupted scholarship, and the illusion of hard science has tempted it from its larger eclectic rouse. National Character; A Psycho-Social Perspective provides strong evidence for this evaluation."

--Gabriel Almond, The Journal of Politics

"Drawing on the author's earlier work on character development in the Soviet Union and other countries, this book seeks to restore national character to respectability by placing it on a firm methodological footing. . . . The book is a healthy sign that the social sciences are moving beyond their parochial disciplinary boundaries and grappling with important, common-sense issues."

--Francis Fukuyama, Foreign Affairs

"[Inkeles] writes lucidly, with a good sense of the kind of arguments likely to be marshalled against him, so that any future attempts to revive national character studies will find this book an invaluable reference point."

--Jonathan Benthall, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"The field of 'national character' has risen and fallen over the years as writers and social scientists have grappled with the concept. We all sense that 'something of the sort' exists, but any definitions have lacked precision. The publication of the papers of Alex Inkeles and his colleagues, now gives us 'a handle' on the subject. Inkeles defines 'modal personality, ' or enduring characteristics and patterns that are distributed across a population, and uses empirical survey and attitude material to show the existence of such a concept in various countries, as well as relating 'national character' to sociocultural systems. This is the benchmark book for the subject."

--Daniel Bell, scholar-in-residence, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

"Alex Inkeles is the leading authority on the relationship between nationality and personality. . . . A lifetime's research and thinking has now become available in one volume. Current political events show that the issue of national differences in mindsets is as crucial as ever. Inkeles' work will continue to be a key resource for cross-cultural psychologists, comparative sociologists and anthropologists studying modern societies, for years to come."

--Geert Hofstede, Institute for Research on Intercultural Cooperation, the Netherlands, author of Culture's Consequences

"To paraphrase Mark Twain on the weather, everybody believes in and relies on national character, but nobody thinks you can study it scientifically. As an ironic result of this frame of mind, any study of national character is likely to evoke, simultaneously, agreement about its substance and snarling about its methodology. In a lifetime of work on national character, Alex Inkeles has broken through this irony by making credible both the concept of national character and the methods of studying it. His conception of modal personality is a beautiful and valuable compromise between the extremes of rank stereotyping found in 'group mind' approaches and the in-principle denial of the existence of cultural types. His notions of national character are never disembodied from their sociocultural determinants. His comparative scope is enormous. And his work makes use of the most appropriate and best socio-scientific methods of studying the often-elusive phenomenon of group character. Professor Inkeles' writings on national character have spanned five decades and have been scattered in different streams of literature. Both social-science and lay readers owe author and publisher a vote of thanks for bringing these remarkable contributions into a single volume."

--Neil J. Smelser, director, Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California


"This seminal volume of vast comparative scope and high erudition will prove indispensable for all interested in this theme."

--Political Studies

"Alex Inkeles has made significant contributions to three important research themes of the twentieth century. . . . All of Inkeles' work has this threefold mark of continuity with the past, theoretical and methodological imagination, and uncompromising rigor. His new book National Character, reflects these qualities. . . . Alex Inkeles has carried the torch of social science scholarship in an especially steady and consistent way over the last half century, without abatement of creativity, or yielding to fads, in times when powerful political currents have corrupted scholarship, and the illusion of hard science has tempted it from its larger eclectic rouse. National Character; A Psycho-Social Perspective provides strong evidence for this evaluation."

--Gabriel Almond, The Journal of Politics

"Drawing on the author's earlier work on character development in the Soviet Union and other countries, this book seeks to restore national character to respectability by placing it on a firm methodological footing. . . . The book is a healthy sign that the social sciences are moving beyond their parochial disciplinary boundaries and grappling with important, common-sense issues."

--Francis Fukuyama, Foreign Affairs

"[Inkeles] writes lucidly, with a good sense of the kind of arguments likely to be marshalled against him, so that any future attempts to revive national character studies will find this book an invaluable reference point."

--Jonathan Benthall, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"The field of 'national character' has risen and fallen over the years as writers and social scientists have grappled with the concept. We all sense that 'something of the sort' exists, but any definitions have lacked precision. The publication of the papers of Alex Inkeles and his colleagues, now gives us 'a handle' on the subject. Inkeles defines 'modal personality, ' or enduring characteristics and patterns that are distributed across a population, and uses empirical survey and attitude material to show the existence of such a concept in various countries, as well as relating 'national character' to sociocultural systems. This is the benchmark book for the subject."

--Daniel Bell, scholar-in-residence, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

"Alex Inkeles is the leading authority on the relationship between nationality and personality. . . . A lifetime's research and thinking has now become available in one volume. Current political events show that the issue of national differences in mindsets is as crucial as ever. Inkeles' work will continue to be a key resource for cross-cultural psychologists, comparative sociologists and anthropologists studying modern societies, for years to come."

--Geert Hofstede, Institute for Research on Intercultural Cooperation, the Netherlands, author of Culture's Consequences

"To paraphrase Mark Twain on the weather, everybody believes in and relies on national character, but nobody thinks you can study it scientifically. As an ironic result of this frame of mind, any study of national character is likely to evoke, simultaneously, agreement about its substance and snarling about its methodology. In a lifetime of work on national character, Alex Inkeles has broken through this irony by making credible both the concept of national character and the methods of studying it. His conception of modal personality is a beautiful and valuable compromise between the extremes of rank stereotyping found in 'group mind' approaches and the in-principle denial of the existence of cultural types. His notions of national character are never disembodied from their sociocultural determinants. His comparative scope is enormous. And his work makes use of the most appropriate and best socio-scientific methods of studying the often-elusive phenomenon of group character. Professor Inkeles' writings on national character have spanned five decades and have been scattered in different streams of literature. Both social-science and lay readers owe author and publisher a vote of thanks for bringing these remarkable contributions into a single volume."

--Neil J. Smelser, director, Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California


-This seminal volume of vast comparative scope and high erudition will prove indispensable for all interested in this theme.-

--Political Studies

-Alex Inkeles has made significant contributions to three important research themes of the twentieth century. . . . All of Inkeles' work has this threefold mark of continuity with the past, theoretical and methodological imagination, and uncompromising rigor. His new book National Character, reflects these qualities. . . . Alex Inkeles has carried the torch of social science scholarship in an especially steady and consistent way over the last half century, without abatement of creativity, or yielding to fads, in times when powerful political currents have corrupted scholarship, and the illusion of hard science has tempted it from its larger eclectic rouse. National Character; A Psycho-Social Perspective provides strong evidence for this evaluation.-

--Gabriel Almond, The Journal of Politics

-Drawing on the author's earlier work on character development in the Soviet Union and other countries, this book seeks to restore national character to respectability by placing it on a firm methodological footing. . . . The book is a healthy sign that the social sciences are moving beyond their parochial disciplinary boundaries and grappling with important, common-sense issues.-

--Francis Fukuyama, Foreign Affairs

-[Inkeles] writes lucidly, with a good sense of the kind of arguments likely to be marshalled against him, so that any future attempts to revive national character studies will find this book an invaluable reference point.-

--Jonathan Benthall, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

-The field of 'national character' has risen and fallen over the years as writers and social scientists have grappled with the concept. We all sense that 'something of the sort' exists, but any definitions have lacked precision. The publication of the papers of Alex Inkeles and his colleagues, now gives us 'a handle' on the subject. Inkeles defines 'modal personality, ' or enduring characteristics and patterns that are distributed across a population, and uses empirical survey and attitude material to show the existence of such a concept in various countries, as well as relating 'national character' to sociocultural systems. This is the benchmark book for the subject.-

--Daniel Bell, scholar-in-residence, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

-Alex Inkeles is the leading authority on the relationship between nationality and personality. . . . A lifetime's research and thinking has now become available in one volume. Current political events show that the issue of national differences in mindsets is as crucial as ever. Inkeles' work will continue to be a key resource for cross-cultural psychologists, comparative sociologists and anthropologists studying modern societies, for years to come.-

--Geert Hofstede, Institute for Research on Intercultural Cooperation, the Netherlands, author of Culture's Consequences

-To paraphrase Mark Twain on the weather, everybody believes in and relies on national character, but nobody thinks you can study it scientifically. As an ironic result of this frame of mind, any study of national character is likely to evoke, simultaneously, agreement about its substance and snarling about its methodology. In a lifetime of work on national character, Alex Inkeles has broken through this irony by making credible both the concept of national character and the methods of studying it. His conception of modal personality is a beautiful and valuable compromise between the extremes of rank stereotyping found in 'group mind' approaches and the in-principle denial of the existence of cultural types. His notions of national character are never disembodied from their sociocultural determinants. His comparative scope is enormous. And his work makes use of the most appropriate and best socio-scientific methods of studying the often-elusive phenomenon of group character. Professor Inkeles' writings on national character have spanned five decades and have been scattered in different streams of literature. Both social-science and lay readers owe author and publisher a vote of thanks for bringing these remarkable contributions into a single volume.-

--Neil J. Smelser, director, Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California

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