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A Reconceptualisation of the Self in Humanistic Psychology: Heidegger, Foucault and the Sociocultural Turn

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Abstract Since the early 1970s humanistic psychology has struggled to remain a relevant force in the social and psychological sciences, we attribute this in part to a conceptualisation of the self rooted in theoretically outmoded thinking. In response to the issue of relevancy a sociocultural turn has been called for within humanistic psychology, which draws directly and indirectly on the conceptual insights of Michel Foucault. However, this growing body of research lacks a unifying conceptual base that is able to encompass its new perspectives (its call for a sociocultural turn) and the movement’s theoretical antecedents (the actualising tendency). This analysis suggests a way forward by offering a potential reconceptualisation of the self in humanistic psychology through the existential-phenomenology of Martin Heidegger. We argue that Heidegger’s conception of the self takes account of subjectivities produced in discourse and institutional practice, while acknowledging the human capacity for actualisation in his concept of the authentic-self.

Affiliations: 1: Graduate School of Psychology, Assumption University Bangkok ; 2: Management Discipline Group, University of Technology Sydney


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