This book offers a biographical account of Henri Tajfel, one of the most influential European social psychologists of the twentieth century, offering unique insights into his ground-breaking work in the areas of social perception, social identity and intergroup relations.
The author, Rupert Brown, paints a vivid and personal portrait of Tajfel’s life, his academic career and its significance to social psychology, and the key ideas he developed. It traces Tajfel’s life from his birth in Poland just after the end of World War I, his time as a prisoner-of-war in World War II, his work with Jewish orphans and other displaced persons after that war, and thence to his short but glittering academic career as a social psychologist.
Based on a range of sources including interviews, archival material, correspondence, photographs, and scholarly output, Brown expertly weaves together Tajfel’s personal narrative with his evolving intellectual interests and major scientific discoveries. Following a chronological structure with each chapter dedicated to a significant transition period in Tajfel’s life, the book ends with an appraisal of two of his principal posthumous legacies: the European Association of Social Psychology, a project always close to Tajfel’s heart and for which he worked tirelessly; and the 'social identity approach' to social psychology initiated by Tajfel over forty years ago and now one of the discipline’s most important perspectives.
This is fascinating reading for students, established scholars, and anyone interested in social psychology and the life and lasting contribution of this celebrated scholar.