How to Rethink Human Behavior : A Practical Guide to Social Contextual Analysis book cover
1st Edition

How to Rethink Human Behavior
A Practical Guide to Social Contextual Analysis

ISBN 9781138123380
Published May 17, 2016 by Routledge
274 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Developed from the author’s long teaching career, How to Rethink Human Behavior aims to cultivate practical skills in human observation and analysis, rather than offer a catalogue of immutable ‘facts’. It synthesizes key psychological concepts with insights from other disciplines, including sociology, social anthropology, economics, and history.

The skills detailed in the book will help readers to observe people in their contexts and to analyze what they observe, in order to make better sense of why people do what they do, say what they say, and think what they think. These methods can also be applied to our own thoughts, talk and actions - not as something we control from ‘within’ but as events constantly being shaped by the idiosyncratic social, cultural, economic and other contexts in which our lives are immersed.

Whether teaching, studying, or reading for pleasure, this book will help readers learn:

  • How to think about people with ecological or contextual thinking
  • How your thinking is a conversation with other people
  • How to analyze talk and conversations as social strategies
  • How capitalist economies change how you act, talk and think in 25 ways
  • How living in modern society can be linked to generalized anxiety and depression


How to Rethink Human Behavior is important interdisciplinary reading for students and researchers in all fields of social science, and will especially appeal to those interested in mental health.  It has also been written for the general reading public who enjoy exploring new ideas and skills in understanding themselves and other people.

Table of Contents

1  Rationale and basic social analytic skills  2 The basics of practical social analysis  3 Analyzing and observing social relationship contexts  4 Analyzing and observing economic contexts  5 Analyzing and observing the contexts for environmental opportunities  6 Analyzing and observing historical contexts  7 Analyzing and observing cultural contexts  8 The contexts for language use: Conversation and other discourses  9 Analyzing the contexts for thinking  10 Analyzing social strategy

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Bernard Guerin is Professor of Psychology at the University of South Australia.