Angela Sabates' Social Psychology in Christian Perspective
is a core text that draws out the implications of a Christian view of human persons on these and other central subjects within the well-established framework of social psychological study.
Human social interaction is varied, complex and always changing. How we perceive each other and ourselves, how individuals interact within groups, and how groups are structured--all these are the domain of social psychology. Many have doubted, however, that a full-fledged social psychology textbook can successfully be written from a Christian perspective. Inevitably, some say, when attempting to integrate theology and social psychology, one discipline must suffer at the expense of the other. Angela Sabates counters that thinking by demonstrating how these two disciplines can indeed be brought together in a fruitful way. She crisply covers key topics in social psychology, utilizing research that is well grounded in the empirical and theoretical literature, while demonstrating how a distinctively Christian approach can offer fresh ideas and understandings. Topics include:
- Why doesn't our behavior always match what we say we believe?
- How and when are we most likely to be persuaded?
- What is the social psychology of violence?
- How reliable are eyewitness testimonies?
- Are racism and prejudice on the decline or are we just better at hiding them?
Angela Sabates's book is a thorough survey of current social psychological theory and research. It gives credit where it is due because, indeed, social psychologists have taught us much about the negative power of social situations as well as our capacities for distorted social perception. At the same time, her creation-fall-redemption framework suggests places where the current social psychological paradigm falls short and points to a research program that takes better account of our inherently positive--and still redeemable--social tendencies.
-Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen,
Finally (!), a social psychology textbook written from a solidly Christian perspective that rivals the best in an otherwise secular market. Utilizing the broad theological tenets of creation, fall and redemption, Angela Sabates skillfully demonstrates how thinking Christianly about social psychology can offer a bold alternative, yet without damaging the field's empirical goods. Cogent, well-written and comprehensive, this text will allow the student to use their Christian lenses without sacrificing a solid grounding in social psychology.
Social Psychology in Christian Perspective represents a much-needed alternative to the selection of social psychology textbooks that are currently on the market. Dr. Sabates has written an engaging text that encourages students to critically examine both the claims of a naturalistic approach to the discipline as well as a Christian integrative model. I'm looking forward to adopting it for my social psychology course.
Angela M. Sabates has written a wonderful text aptly entitled Social Psychology in Christian Perspective. She fairly describes current approaches to social psychology yet she consistently critiques them through a Christian lens, respecting both empirical and theological methods. This will help students not only understand the fascinating subfield of social psychology, but it will also develop their critical reasoning abilities, helping them become Christians who can think like psychological scientists. This is a great text for any explicitly Christian college.
-Everett L. Worthington, Jr.,
Virginia Commonwealth University
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