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

How to Rethink Human Behavior

A Practical Guide to Social Contextual Analysis, 1st Edition

By Bernard Guerin


262 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138123380
pub: 2016-05-17
Hardback: 9781138123373
pub: 2016-05-24
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315648903
pub: 2016-05-20
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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

About the Author

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

About the Series

Exploring the Environmental and Social Foundations of Human Behaviour

Can you imagine that everything people do, say and think is shaped directly by engaging with our many environmental and social contexts?  Humans would then really be part of their environment.
For current psychology, however, people only engage with metaphorical ‘internal’ environments or brains events, and everything we do somehow originates hidden in there.  But what if all that we do and think originated out in our worlds, and what we call ‘internal’ is merely language and conversations which were also shaped by engaging in our external discursive, cultural and societal environments?
Exploring the Environmental and Social Foundations of Human Behaviour is an exciting new book series about developing the next generation of ways to understand what people do, say and think.  Human behaviour is shaped through directly engaging in our diverse contexts of resources, social relationships, economics, culture, discourses, colonization, patriarchy, society, and the opportunities afforded by our birth contexts.  Even language and thinking arise from our external social and discursive contexts, and so the ‘internal’ and brain metaphors will disappear as psychology becomes merged with the social sciences. 
The series is therefore a-disciplinary and presents analyses or contextually-engaged research on topics which describe or demonstrate how human behaviour arises from direct engagement with the worlds in which we are embedded.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Applied Psychology
PSYCHOLOGY / Interpersonal Relations
PSYCHOLOGY / Social Psychology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General