1st Edition

Field-theory A Study of its Application in the Social Sciences

By Harald Mey Copyright 2015
    352 Pages
    by Routledge

    346 Pages
    by Routledge

    This is an important account of the development of the ‘field-theory’ approach in the social sciences. Harald Mey concentrates on the writers from the 1930s to the present day who have used this approach to the study of the individual and of society, and gives a clear exposition of such ‘field-theory’ application in its many differing forms. In addition, the author shows how a concept which was initially useful in the physical sciences came to be used first by psychologists, and subsequently by sociologists and others in related disciplines, in their search for answers to the problems presented by the study of society. Mey describes how the use of the ‘field-theory’ perspective has fared when applied to specific areas of social research – education, personal relationships, group behaviour. He also compares the ‘field-theory’ approach to the study of societies with the structural/functional approach, and explains why he believes ‘field-theory’ has a number of advantages over the structural/functional approach, especially when it comes to the dynamic problem of social change.

    Part 1. Presuppositions of Field-Theories in Social Science  1. Certain Observations on Field-Theory in Physics  2. Gestalt Psychology as Field-Theory  3. Basic Assumptions of Lewin’s Topological Psychology: Psychological Field-Theory, Part One  4. Basic Assumptions of Lewin’s Dynamic Psychology: Psychological Field-Theory, Part Two  Part 2. The Path Followed by Field-Theory from Individual Psychology to Social Science  5. Moving from the Unit of Consciousness to the Multi-Personal Field, By Way of ‘Psychological Induction’  6. The Social Field as an Interpersonal Space of Conflict and Tension  7. Contributions to the Theory of the ‘Role-Field’  Part 3. The Field-Theory in Social Science versus the Theories of System and Structures  8. A Criticism of the ‘System’ of Structural Functionalism and of the Departure From ‘Elements’  9. A First Attempt at the Field-Theory of Society as a Whole  10. Thoughts on Structure and Change  Part 4. Social Field-Theories Concerned with Fields of Opinion and Interests  11. Fields of Opinion as a Basis for Norm- and Role-Formation  12. Multi-Person Fields, Image-Fields and the Norm-Field of Society  13. Interest-Fields and Fields of Social Conflict  Part 5. Further Applications of the Field-Concept, and Field-Theoretical Methods in Social Sciences  14. Field-Ideas as Applied in Cultural Anthropology  15. On the Educational Concept of Field  16. The Theory of Level of Aspiration, and ‘Opportunities for Climbing’ in the Social Field  17. ‘Field-Models’ in the Sense of a ‘Formal Field-Method’, Together with Final Conclusions Concerning the Methodology


    Harald Mey