The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By

Oxford University Press, 10/11/2005 - 400 páginas
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Who are we as Americans? What is our deep identity? How do we make a good life? Renowned psychologist Dan P. McAdams suggests that the key to American identity lies in the stories we live by. And the most powerful life story in America today is the story of redemption. On a broad societal scale and in our own private lives, we want first and foremost to transform our suffering into a positive emotional state, to move from pain and peril to redemption. American identity is the redemptive self. Based on 10 years of research on the life stories of especially caring and productive American adults, The Redemptive Self explores the psychological and cultural dynamics of the stories Americans tell to make sense of who they are. Among the most eloquent tellers of redemptive stories are those midlife adults who are especially committed to their careers, their families, and making a positive difference in the world. These highly "generative" men and women embrace the negative things that happen to them, for it is by transforming the bad into good that they are able to move forward in life and ultimately leave something positive behind. Unconsciously, they find inspiration and sustenance in the rich store of redemptive tales that American culture offers - from the autobiographies of Massachusetts Puritans, Benjamin Franklin, and escaped African-American slaves to the stories of upward mobility, recovery, fulfillment, and release that come to us today from Hollywood, 12-step programs, self-help experts, religious stories, political speeches, business gurus, and Oprah. But can all American lives find redemption? Some people seem unable to make their lives into redemptive tales. Instead, their stories show contaminated plots and vicious cycles. Moreover, might there be a dark side to the redemptive stories Americans love? While these stories can sustain a productive and caring approach to life, they can also suggest a peculiarly American kind of arrogance and self-righteousness. For all their strengths, redemptive stories sometimes fail, and sometimes suggest important failings in the way Americans see themselves and the world. The Redemptive Self encourages us to examine our lives and our stories in full, to apprehend both the good and the bad in the stories we live by. By doing so, we may fashion better stories and better lives for the future.

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LibraryThing Review

Procura do Utilizador  - Harlan879 - LibraryThing

Prof. McAdams starts with an interesting thesis, that there is a bundle of personality traits and psychological processes that leads to some people being particularly successful and resiliant, in a ... Ler crítica na íntegra

The redemptive self stories Americans live by

Procura do Utilizador  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Prolific psychologist McAdams (psychology & human development, social policy, Northwestern Univ.; The Stories We Live By: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self) takes his interest in narrative ... Ler crítica na íntegra


A Life Story Made in America
Chapter 1 Redemption and the American Soul
Chapter 2 The Generative Adult
Chapter 3 Life Stories
Chapter 4 The Chosen People
From Emerson to Oprah
Chapter 6 God Bless America
Chapter 7 Black and White
Chapter 8 Contaminated Plots Vicious Circles
Chapter 9 When Redemption Fails
Chapter 10 Culture Narrative and the Self
An Americans Confessions and Final Thoughts
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Chair and Professor, Department of Psychology, and Professor of Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University

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