Travels with the Self uses a hermeneutic perspective to critique psychology and demonstrate why the
concept of the Self and the modality of cultural history is so vitally important to the profession of
psychology. Each chapter focuses on a theory, concept, sociopolitical or professional issue, philosophical
problem, or professional activity that has rarely been critiqued from a historical, sociopolitical vantage
Cushman explores psychology’s involvement in consumerism, racism, shallow understandings of being
human, military torture, political resistance, and digital living. In each case, theories and practices are
treated as historical artifacts, rather than expressions of a putatively progressive, modern-era science that is
uncovering the one, universal truth about human being. In this way, psychological theories and practices,
especially pertaining to the concept of the self, are shown to be reflections of the larger moral
understandings and political arrangements of their time and place, with implications for how we understand
the self in theory and clinical practice.
Drawing on the philosophies of critical theory and hermeneutics, Philip Cushman insists on understanding
the self, one of the most studied and cherished of psychological concepts, and its ills, practitioners, and
healing technologies, as historical/cultural artifacts-surprising, almost sacrilegious, concepts. To this end,
each chapter begins with a historical introduction that locates it in the historical time and moral/political
space of the nation’s, the profession’s, and the author’s personal context.
Travels with the Self brings together highly unusual and controversial writings on contemporary
psychology that will appeal to psychoanalysts and psychotherapists, psychologists of all stripes, as well as
scholars of philosophy, history, and cultural studies.
Search Keywords: critical theory hermeneutics history of psychology self