The Use of Unusual Psychological Theories in Psychobiography: A Case Study and Discussion

du Plessis, Carol and Stones, Christopher R. (2019) The Use of Unusual Psychological Theories in Psychobiography: A Case Study and Discussion. In: New Trends in Psychobiography. Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 209-227. ISBN 9783030169527

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Abstract

This chapter argues for the use of ‘unusual’ theories in psychobiographical research through the presentation of a case study using such a theory. Historically, psychobiographical research has predominantly made use of the work of psychoanalytic and psychodynamic theorists and developmental theorists, while more recent psychobiographical approaches have preferred more modern, empirically based. However, over reliance on a few theories within psychobiographical research creates the possibility for narrow explanations of complex lives. Given the proliferation of theoretical modes in psychology the current use of theory barely scratches the surface of available explanatory paradigms. This chapter argues for the value of casting the explanatory net wider, and for the inclusion of more psychological theories in psychobiographical work.
Using a psychobiographical case study, the chapter illustrates how a ‘forgotten’ psychological theory (script theory, based on the work of Tomkins) can serve as an extremely useful explanatory paradigm for a complex religious figure. The case study focuses on Gordon Hinckley (b. 1910, d. 2008), the fifteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly referred to as the Mormon Church), who remains a prominent figure in contemporary Mormonism and played a key role in the rapid growth and increasingly positive public profile of the Religion throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Using Tomkins’ script theory in conjunction with a psychobiographical method and the analysis of data gathered from published speeches, this study explores Hinckley’s personality structure and identifies three core psychological scripts.


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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Psychology and Counselling (1 Jan 2015 -)
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2020 03:35
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2020 04:09
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gordon Hinckley, Psychobiography, Script Theory, Silvan Tomkins, Latter Day Saints, Mormomism
Fields of Research (2008): 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170111 Psychology of Religion
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170110 Psychological Methodology, Design and Analysis
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-16953-4_12
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/38031

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