Awakening our Faith in the Future : The Advent of Psychological Liberalism book cover
1st Edition

Awakening our Faith in the Future
The Advent of Psychological Liberalism

ISBN 9780415445061
Published June 20, 2008 by Routledge
334 Pages

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Book Description

What transformation would happen if we could combine the best of liberal politics with psychology?

Awakening our Faith in the Future investigates the avenues for creating a new branch of psychology, a transformative political psychology. In the past, political psychology has focused directly on analysis and knowledge acquisition, rather than on interventions that transform self and culture. A transformative political psychology combines the best of traditional social science with the transformative intent of clinical psychology in order to create a new political culture.

Peter T. Dunlap suggests that while liberals focus intently outside of themselves on changing the world, those with psychological interests focus much more internally on changing themselves. In this book, he argues that by combining political liberalism and psychology, and encouraging psychologists to develop cultural learning practices based on ideas of self-knowledge, there is opportunity to transform our political culture.

Divided into five parts, this book explores:

  • stories of political destiny
  • questions of development
  • opportunities for political development
  • a speculative theory of cultural evolution
  • practices of a political psychologist.

This scholarly text uses personal experiences and the stories of progressive political leaders as pathways for addressing political problems, making it ideal reading for professionals and students in the fields of both politics and psychology as well as for activists interested in the future of liberalism.

Table of Contents

Part I: Stories of Destiny. The Liberal’s Emotional Body Opens Our Faith in the Future. Consolidating the Felt-sense of the Future into the Capacity for Destiny. Stories of Destiny. Part II: Questions of Development. From Political to Psychological Liberalism: Freedom in Psychological Development. The Variety of Uses of the Idea of ‘Development.’ From Image to Institution. Part III: Opportunities for Political Development. Political Development and Emotion. The Rhythms of Political Development. Part IV: A Speculative Theory of Cultural Evolution. A Theory of Cultural Evolution and a New Story of Liberalism. A Theory of Cultural Evolution and the Advent of Psychological Liberalism. The Current Liberal Identity and the Emergence of the Psychological Citizen. Part V: Practices of a Political Psychologist. Imagining a Transformative Political Psychologist and a Psychological Citizen. Attending to the Prejudices of Liberalism. Deepening the Conceptual Frame for a Public-psychological Liberalism.

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Peter T. Dunlap is a political and clinical psychologist working in private and political practice. Peter works with political change groups, using educational, healing, and community engagement learning practices. His research includes an investigation into the political development of progressive political leaders titled Destiny as Capacity: The Transformation of Political Identity in Human Development.


"Chocked full of important insights that will be of great interest to social change advocates as well as to social theorists, Awakening Our Faith in the Future makes a significant contribution to contemporary thought and should be read by anyone who has ever gone to or contemplated psychotherapy." - Rabbi Michael Lerner, Ph.D.  Editor of Tikkun Magazine, Chair of the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives, and author of 11 books including The Politics of Meaning and The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our Country from the Religious Right


"In this beautifully written and challenging book, Dunlap has evolved a practical path for the integration of emotion and thought in the service of social justice by demonstrating a wide range of inspiring 'learning practices' that activate creative and progressive political energies." - Andrew Samuels, University of Essex, author of The Political Psyche and Politics on the Couch: Citizenship and the Internal Life.


"Peter's work suggests new models of leadership, and not only will inspire social scientists, political activists, and educators, but all of us who aspire to a new political culture." - Dean Elias, St. Mary's professor of Educational Leadership and founder of the Praxis Tank for Progressives.