Catalogue


Rewriting the soul : multiple personality and the sciences of memory /
Ian Hacking.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1995.
description
ix, 336 p. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
069103642X (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1995.
isbn
069103642X (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
1119361
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 297-328) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"There is little Mr. Hacking leaves untouched. His book ranges from history, science and philosophical rumination to amused reflections on daily life with equal authority and grace. Mr. Hacking writes with a poetic, almost elegiac beauty."-- The Washington Times
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1995-04-01:
Many clinicians, backed by a grass-roots movement of patients and therapists, argue that child abuse is the primary cause of multiple personality disorder (MPD), while critics charge the MPD community with fostering false memories of childhood trauma. Using this controversial disorder as a point of departure, Hacking (philosophy, Univ. of Toronto) here probes deep into the science of memory. While the fascination with memory is nothing new, it wasn't until the second half of the 19th century that a real science of memory developed. The study of pathological memory arose out of this new science, and with it came the study of multiple personalities. Hacking (The Taming of Chance, Cambridge Univ. Pr., 1990) argues that the manner in which the sciences of memory evolved has much to do with today's memory confrontations, and, moreover, that the current outbreak of dissociative disorders reflects our new political times. Ultimately, Hacking illustrates in this demanding examination how the current politics of memory have resulted in the scientizing of the soul. A challenging read for all but scholars and specialists in the field, this is recommended for larger academic psychology collections.‘David R. Johnson, Louisiana State Univ. Lib., Eunice (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1995-11:
Despite a subtitle announcing material about "the sciences of memory," this book has little to say about either sciences or about memory. What the book contains instead is a sort of history of a social movement in psychotherapy during the last hundred years. Research work on memory is mentioned, fleetingly and dismissively, but not at all consulted for whatever evidence it might have provided on issues discussed here. Nor does Hacking seem aware that modern techniques of measuring "implicit memory" could provide some answers: Do the different multiple personalities residing in one body show different styles of handwriting? (Indeed, the dissociative state of hypnosis--apparently related to multiple personality--has been the target of careful and thoughtful experimentation using such logic for years.) The biggest question is whether reports of the disorder of multiple personality are deliberate constructions by psychotherapists and their patients, responding to contagious press reports, or something more genuine. Hacking raises but really does not illuminate a final problem: developing a multiple-personality condition provides a social adaptation akin to a declaration of financial bankruptcy; one becomes not responsible for debts incurred previously. General; lower-division undergraduate. R. G. Crowder; Yale University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"The details of Hacking's discussion are enthralling and illuminating. He manages to avoid altogether the sensationalism usually associated with treatments of multiple personality, providing an informative history and raising deep and important philosophical issues."-- Marya Schechtman, Mind
Winner of the 1995 Pierre Janet Writing Award, International Society for the Study of Dissociation
"In this brilliant and provocative new book, Ian Hacking fixes his searching gaze on the hot topic of multiple personality. The results are remarkable.... In Hacking's hands, multiple personality emerges as a paradigmatic case study illuminating basic questions about truth, memory, fact and fiction, about knowledge, science, and identity.... [This book] treats these impossibly difficult problems of knowability in the human sciences with grace and wisdom."-- Ellen Herman, Contemporary Psychology
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, April 1995
Choice, November 1995
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
Twenty-five years ago one could list by name the tiny number of multiple personalities recorded in the history of Western medicine, but today hundreds of people receive treatment for dissociative disorders in every sizable town in North America. Clinicians, backed by a grassroots movement of patients and therapists, find child sexual abuse to be the primary cause of the illness, while critics accuse the MPD community of fostering false memories of childhood trauma. Here the distinguished philosopher Ian Hacking uses the MPD epidemic and its links with the contemporary concept of child abuse to scrutinize today's moral and political climate, especially our power struggles about memory and our efforts to cope with psychological injuries. In this brilliant and provocative new book, Ian Hacking fixes his searching gaze on the hot topic of multiple personality. The results are remarkable.... In Hacking's hands, multiple personality emerges as a paradigmatic case study illuminating basic questions about truth, memory, fact and fiction, about knowledge, science, and identity.... [This book] treats these impossibly difficult problems of knowability in the human sciences with grace and wisdom. DLEllen Herman, Contemporary Psychology The details of Hacking's discussion are enthralling and illuminating. He manages to avoid altogether the sensationalism usually associated with treatments of multiple personality, providing an informative history and raising deep and important philosophical issues. DLMarya Schechtman, Mind
Main Description
Twenty-five years ago one could list by name the tiny number of multiple personalities recorded in the history of Western medicine, but today hundreds of people receive treatment for dissociative disorders in every sizable town in North America. Clinicians, backed by a grassroots movement of patients and therapists, find child sexual abuse to be the primary cause of the illness, while critics accuse the "MPD" community of fostering false memories of childhood trauma. Here the distinguished philosopher Ian Hacking uses the MPD epidemic and its links with the contemporary concept of child abuse to scrutinize today's moral and political climate, especially our power struggles about memory and our efforts to cope with psychological injuries.What is it like to suffer from multiple personality? Most diagnosed patients are women: why does gender matter? How does defining an illness affect the behavior of those who suffer from it? And, more generally, how do systems of knowledge about kinds of people interact with the people who are known about? Answering these and similar questions, Hacking explores the development of the modern multiple personality movement. He then turns to a fascinating series of historical vignettes about an earlier wave of multiples, people who were diagnosed as new ways of thinking about memory emerged, particularly in France, toward the end of the nineteenth century. Fervently occupied with the study of hypnotism, hysteria, sleepwalking, and fugue, scientists of this period aimed to take the soul away from the religious sphere. What better way to do this than to make memory a surrogate for the soul and then subject it to empirical investigation?Made possible by these nineteenth-century developments, the current outbreak of dissociative disorders is embedded in new political settings.Rewriting the Soulconcludes with a powerful analysis linking historical and contemporary material in a fresh contribution to the archaeology of knowledge. As Foucault once identified a politics that centers on the body and another that classifies and organizes the human population, Hacking has now provided a masterful description of the politics of memory : the scientizing of the soul and the wounds it can receive.
Main Description
Twenty-five years ago one could list by name the tiny number of multiple personalities recorded in the history of Western medicine, but today hundreds of people receive treatment for dissociative disorders in every sizable town in North America. Clinicians, backed by a grassroots movement of patients and therapists, find child sexual abuse to be the primary cause of the illness, while critics accuse the "MPD" community of fostering false memories of childhood trauma. Here the distinguished philosopher Ian Hacking uses the MPD epidemic and its links with the contemporary concept of child abuse to scrutinize today's moral and political climate, especially our power struggles about memory and our efforts to cope with psychological injuries. What is it like to suffer from multiple personality? Most diagnosed patients are women: why does gender matter? How does defining an illness affect the behavior of those who suffer from it? And, more generally, how do systems of knowledge about kinds of people interact with the people who are known about? Answering these and similar questions, Hacking explores the development of the modern multiple personality movement. He then turns to a fascinating series of historical vignettes about an earlier wave of multiples, people who were diagnosed as new ways of thinking about memory emerged, particularly in France, toward the end of the nineteenth century. Fervently occupied with the study of hypnotism, hysteria, sleepwalking, and fugue, scientists of this period aimed to take the soul away from the religious sphere. What better way to do this than to make memory a surrogate for the soul and then subject it to empirical investigation? Made possible by these nineteenth-century developments, the current outbreak of dissociative disorders is embedded in new political settings. Rewriting the Soul concludes with a powerful analysis linking historical and contemporary material in a fresh contribution to the archaeology of knowledge. As Foucault once identified a politics that centers on the body and another that classifies and organizes the human population, Hacking has now provided a masterful description of the politics of memory : the scientizing of the soul and the wounds it can receive.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Rewriting the Soulp. 2
Introductionp. 3
Is It Real?p. 8
What is It Like?p. 21
The Movementp. 39
Child Abusep. 55
Genderp. 69
Causep. 81
Measurep. 96
Truth in Memoryp. 113
Schizophreniap. 128
Before Memoryp. 142
Doubling of the Personalityp. 159
The Very First Multiple Personalityp. 171
Traumap. 183
The Sciences of Memoryp. 198
Memoro-Politicsp. 210
Mind and Bodyp. 221
An Indeterminacy in the Pastp. 234
False Consciousnessp. 258
Notesp. 269
Bibliographyp. 297
Indexp. 329
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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