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Thematic Issues
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Copyright
THEMATIC ISSUES

 

THE EROSION OF THE SOCIAL LINK IN THE WESTERN COUNTRIES

PATRICK HUNOUT AND COLLABORATORS

 

SUMMARY

This work was edited by Patrick Hunout between 2000 and 2003. It attempts to offer a global overview of the contemporary crisis in the interpersonal relationships, its roots, causes, forms, and remedies. 

 

Our societies seem to correspond to the figure of a “depressed” society, where most indicators of ill-being, such as suicides, psychic disorders, divorce, loneliness and the like are widespread and increasing. The social link, or in other words, what keeps us together within society, is suffering from the contemporary developments, as if a centrifugal force was exerting its effects on the members of this society and was keeping them away from one another, either in terms of personal relationships or in terms of collective energy and capacity for action.

KEYWORDS

Personal relationships - Social Link - Economically Advanced Countries - Western Countries - Congeniality - Social Cohesiveness - Social Capital.  

AUTHORS PRESENTATION

  • Patrick HUNOUT is a Senior Researcher whose aim is to improve our knowledge of the transformations of the economically advanced countries, helping thus shore up the moral, social and economic context. His work explores four main hypotheses: the strategies of the upper classes are a major explanatory factor of the current transformations of society ; these strategies bear simultaneously on three main fields : economic, ethnic, and interpersonal ; the developmental trends are similar in all industrialized countries whatever their original culture ; these trends have a destructive effect on the social link in all societies. He ran international and cross-cultural research projects, and led international or cross-cultural comparisons in the fields of Capital-Labor Relations and Monetary Policies, Migrations and Interethnic Relationships, and Personal Relationships. As examples, he worked on job evaluation (1987-1992), national cultural management styles (1997), European integration and monetary policy (1999), immigration policies to France and Germany (1999-2000-2002), and the erosion of the social link in the economically advanced countries (2000-2003). He is the President and the Founder of The International Scope Review, and the President and the Founder of The Social Capital Foundation, the aim of which is to help restore, revitalize and strengthen the social link in Europe.  

  • Greg I. SCOTT obtained his Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) from the University of Wollongong in 2000. He is currently a PhD scholar at the University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. His research interests include factors contributing to depression and suicide, the role of cultural values in promoting positive mental health outcomes, and the interface between social and psychological change.  

  • Joseph V. CIARROCHI obtained his PhD in Psychology from the University of Pittsbugh, PA, in 1997. He is currently a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Wollongong, New Wouth Wales, Australia. His research interests include the role of emotional intelligence in dealing with life problems and stress, factors contributing to depression and suicide, and critical evaluation of personality and individual differences measures.

  • Frank P. DEANE obtained his PhD in Psychology from Massey University, New Zealand in 1992. He is a Professor at the Department of Psychology, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia, and a Director of the Illawarra Institute for Mental Health. His research interests include understanding help-seeking from professional and non-professional sources when psychologically distressed or suicidal, mental health triage, assessment and treatment of driving fears, and the role played by homework in psychological interventions.

  • Warren H. JONES obtained his PhD in Psychology from Oklahoma State University in 1974. He is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. His research bore notably on commitment and relational stability, family and marital satisfaction, trust in personal relationships, loneliness and its links with other variables such as cooperation, conformity, social contact, self-concept, social and relational skills, interpersonal judgments, and social support.

  • Lauriann HEBB is a doctoral student in Psychology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.   

  • Robin M. KOWALSKI completed her Social Psychology Doctorate in 1990 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is currently a Professor of  Psychology at the Western Carolina University. Her research interests include health and personality psychology, self-presentation and social anxiety, aversive interpersonal behaviors, interpersonal influence, and sexual aggression. Her publications include notably Patriotism in the aftermath of Operation Desert Storm : Basking in reflected glory ? (1991), Social anxiety (1995, with M. R. Leary), Aversive interpersonal behaviors (1997), Behaving badly : Aversive behaviors in interpersonal relationships (2001), and Permitted Disrespect : Teasing in Interpersonal Interactions (2001, with E. Howerton & M. McKenzie).   

  • Irving HEXHAM is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and the author of seven books including The Irony of Apartheid (1981), A Concise Dictionary of Religion (1993), and New Religions as Global Cultures, with Karla Poewe (1997). He has edited fourteen other books, most of which deal with African religion. These include Zulu Religion: Texts and Interpretations. Vol. I: Traditional Zulu Ideas About God (1987), Afro-Christian Religion & Healing in Southern Africa, with G.C. Oosthuizen (1989) and The Scriptures of the amaNazaretha of Ekuphakameni,  translated from the Zulu by the Rt. Rev. Londaukosi InsiKayakho Shembe and Hans-Jürgen Becken (1994). He has written over sixty refereed journal articles and chapters in books and numerous book reviews. His research interests centre on New Religious Movements in a global perspective since the Enlightenment.

  • Karla POEWE is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and the author of seven books including Matrilineal Ideology: Male-Female Dynamics in Luapula, Zambia (1981), Reflections of a Woman Anthropologist : No Hiding Place (1982) written under the pseudonym Cesara Manda at the request of the publisher, and The Namibian Herero: A History of Their Psychosocial Disintegration and Survival (1985). She edited Charismatic Christianity as a Global Culture (1994) and has written over thirty academic papers in leading journals. Currently she is writing a book on New Religions in Germany during the years 1920’s and 1930’s that were associated with National socialism.  

  • Philippe LEMOIGNE is a sociologist affiliated with the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM, Paris, France) and with the CESAMES research group from University Paris V. His work involves the study of sanitary and social policies, and aims at evaluating the action of the institutions (whatever medical, social, or legal) facing the suffering. This question led him to investigate the judicial treatment of unfortunate childhood. In addition, he is the author of many articles on the prescription and the consumption of psychotropic drugs. He published in particular on Psychotropic drug use : its social and geographical context (1996) and on The social organization of recidivism among the adolescent : An Intractable Youth (2000).  

  • Pamela A. GELLER is an assistant professor of Clinical and Health Psychology and Director of the Student Counseling Center at MCP Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, and completed a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship in Psychiatric Epidemiology at the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University in New York City. Dr. Geller’s research interests involve stressful life events and mental and physical health outcomes, and the role of personal and social resources as moderators of stress. Her work has focused on differences within and between different ethnic groups, as well as women’s health issues, including women’s reproductive health. Dr. Geller is an Associate Editor for the Health Psychology volume for the Handbook of Psychology, a 12-volume set being published by Wiley, Inc. in 2002.

  • Evelyn A. OROZCO is the clinical supervisor of the Children at Risk: Resources and Intervention (CARRI) Program sponsored by the University of Medicine and Dentistry-University Behavioral Health Care, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA, and holds adjunct faculty positions at Rutgers University in the Applied and Professional Psychology Department and in the Department of Psychiatry of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She completed a M.A. in Counseling Psychology at Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio. Dr. Orozco’s clinical work includes home-based therapy with multiethnic populations–specifically women and their children. Her research interests focus on the impact of acculturation on self-esteem and interpersonal relationships for Latina women.

  • Ellen Moore BOOHAR is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at MCP Hahnemann University, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Her research interests include depression and substance use in adolescents, as well as cultural differences in social support and attitudes toward seeking mental health treatment.

  • Adriana F. RESTREPO is a candidate for a M.A. in Clinical Psychology for Spanish-English Bilinguals at Montclair State Univesity, New Jersey, USA. She currently works with the CARRI Youth Incentive Program providing home-based therapy and case management services to children under the age of 18 that are at risk for residential placement. She is interested in multisystemic work with Latino families.  

  • Daniel W. RUSSELL is a professor in the Department of Psychology and the Institute for Social and Behavioral Research at Iowa State University, Iowa, USA.

  • Emily K. FLOM is currently a medical student in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Des Moines University. 

  • Kelli A. GARDNER is a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology at Iowa State University. Carolyn E. Cutrona is a professor in the Department of Psychology and Associate Director of the Institute for Social and Behavioral Research at Iowa State University. Robert S. Hessling is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.    

  • Duncan CRAMER completed his Doctorate with Hans Eysenck at the Institute of Psychiatry, London in 1973. He has been a Reader in Psychological Health at Loughborough University since 1996. His research interests and publications include such topics as mental health, personality, personal relationships, psychotherapy and counselling. Among the books he has written are Personality and Psychotherapy (1992), Close Relationships (1998), Fundamental Statistics for Social Research (1998), and An Introduction to Statistics in Psychology (2000, 2nd ed.) with Dennis Howitt. He was Joint Editor of the British Journal of Medical Psychology (1995-2000), and is now one of its Associate Editors again.

  • Paul H. MÖLLER is a professor of sociology at the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, Republic of South Africa. In 1981 he obtained his D.Phil. in sociology at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Previously he lectured in sociology at the University of Port Elizabeth and in industrial sociology at the University of the Free State. He was also a visiting professor at the Agder University, Kristiansand, Norway and the University of South Bohemia, Ceské Budéjovice, Czech Republic. His fields of interest are sociological theory and the sociology of development. In recent years he did research on affirmative action (the process to eliminate discrimination in the workplace), occupational sociology,globalization, health related quality of life and sustainable development.

  • Masachi OHSAWA is a Sociology Doctor (1990, University of Tokyo) and an associate professor at the Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies at Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.  His research interests mainly include theoretical sociology and the analysis of contemporary society. In the first field (theoretical sociology), he attempted to give a firm philosophical basis to the theory of the social system, using approaches such as phenomenology of the body, analytic philosophy,  and self-referential logic. He applied some findings of this research to the second field (analysis of the contemporary society). Masachi tried to explain coherently various aspects of the contemporary society, being especially interested in religious phenomena, nationalism, and the social influence of media technologies.  He published mainly on The Algebra of Action (1989), Comparative Sociology of the Body  (1990, 1992),  Eros and Capitalism (1996), The Limit of the Era of the Fiction in Postwar Japan (1996) and The Dark Side of Politics (2000).

  • Anton SENEKAL is an associate professor at the Rand Afrikaans University, Republic of South Africa. His Ph.D. thesis (1985) bore on the attitude of White South African adults towards the South African military system. Anton's work focuses notably on the sociology of crime and social deviance, and on the role of family and friendship in social integration. He wrote numerous articles such as When deviance becomes sin (1999), The family in the frontline of the fight against crime (1998), Poverty and patterns of settlement (1997), Evaluative relativism and the study of deviant behaviour (1993), and Directionality in human behaviour (1989).  

  • Evanthe M. SCHURINK was employed by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), Pretoria, South Africa, from 1981 to 1998. During her career at the HSRC she acted as the manager of the HSRC Program for Child and Family Welfare, and was a leader of a variety of projects, such as effective prevention of child victimization,  social reintegration of marginalized youth, management of street children, implementation of a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). She served on various national working groups and committees including : South Africa's Law Commission's project for the prevention of the sexual abuse against children, the Executive committee of the National Institute of Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of Ex -offenders, the National Plan of Action for Children (NPA), the National Work Group Prevention of Child Abuse and Protection Against Neglect, the Technical Task Team monitoring the Implementation of the NPA and the National Children's Rights Committee (NCRC). She has been awarded the 1996 HSRC President's Medal for her research on child abuse. Evanthe’s fields of interest and specialization include research methodology with specific reference to participatory action research, crime prevention, crime victims, behavior change, AIDS, youth, child abuse and the development of national and regional monitoring systems. She published notably on AIDS (1988),  black youths' involvement in delinquency and crime and its perceptions of crime and its control  (1991, with Willem Schurink), rape victimization (1992), the development and evaluation of a support service for crime victims (1993), street children (1993, with Willem Schurink), South Africa's Child Protection System disintegration (1996), and the reintegration of homeless people in the inner city of Pretoria (1998).

  • Willem J. SCHURINK commenced work in 1971 as an assistant researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in Pretoria, Gauteng. He obtained his Ph.D. in Sociology from the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education South Africa in 1989. He held various positions, and had been a chief research specialist in the Research Group "Democracy and Governance" when he took an early pension packet at the end of April 2000. At present, Willem practizes as a consultant in various social science fields. The HSRC recently contracted him to write chapters for and edit a forthcoming publication on recent developments in the crime prevention field in South Africa.  Willem’s fields of interest and specialization include social science methodology, theory of deviance, criminological and victimological theory, crime prevention, children’s issues (e.g. street children, child labour and child prostitution), HIV/AIDS, rape, family violence, and prison studies. His most significant works cover crime problems (1979), gay men and women (1981, 1990), South African prisons (1989), street children (1993), commercial sex work (1993), family violence policy and intervention (1996), and expert assessment of the explanation of crime and decision support in the South African Police Service (2000).

  • Maria-Cristina FERREIRA is a professor of Social Psychology at Gama Filho University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and a Senior Researcher associated to the Brazilian National Scientific Research and Development Council. She has completed her Doctorate at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil, in 1985. Her research interests include topics such as gender relations, organizational behavior and cross-cultural studies. She published notably on gender identity (1995, 1996, 1998), gender stereotypes (1997), attitudes toward women (1999) and cross-cultural issues in social psychology (2000, 2001).

  • Marcos AGUIAR DE SOUZA holds a Master in Social Psychology from Gama Filho University, Brazil (1993), and is a Doctoral student at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Education Institute of the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His publications include a book about Educational Psychology (2000), books chapters about the self-concept and gender role conflicts at men (1997, 2002), and articles related to social identity and gender identity (1997, 2002). His research interests are anomie, individualist/collectivist values, gender identity, and theories linking social and psychological change.

  • William J. DOHERTY is Professor of Family Social Science and Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Minnesota, USA. He has authored or edited eight professional books on family studies and family therapy, numerous scholarly articles in variety of journals, and four books for the lay public. He is a past President of the National Council on Family Relations, which is the oldest interdisciplinary family studies organization in North America. In 1992, he received the Significant Contribution to the Field of Marriage and Family Therapy Award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. His book Soul Searching: Why Psychotherapy Must Promote Moral Responsibility (Basic Books) is a critique of contemporary psychotherapy’s emphasis on individual self-interest and a demonstration of a communitarian approach to psychological healing.  He has an active research program in the transition to fatherhood, and he is pioneering community work with families under the umbrella of the "Families and Democracy Project".

  • Emmerentie OLIPHANT has been a faculty member of the Department of Social Work at the Rand Afrikaans University, RSA, since 1994. She has a Phd in Social Work and specialized in family therapy. She has received training at various family therapy clinics such as the Betty Ford Clinic in the United States.  She completed a National Certificate in Assessment and Intervention of the Youth Sex Offender in the United States in 2000. Emmerentie also managed a family clinic in Pretoria, RSA, on a voluntary basis from 1994-1999. During the period 1993-1999 she ran a part-time private practice for family centered services. Prior to this, Dr. Oliphant was a social worker at the Department of Correctional Services and the Department of Health and Welfare. She believes that these experiences in the field of social work have given her the opportunity to find the link between theory and practice. Her interest is in the field of family services, social development, cross-cultural issues and social work education.

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