This book presents a theory of motives that has evolved over decades in dialogue with academics and with practitioners. The key proposal is that of collectively cultivating meta-motives – rather than the ubiquitous recipes for manipulating self-regulation. Cultivating meta-motives can proceed through rearticulating motives. Such rearticulation engages with theories and practices of motivation and motives. First, this is a discussion of the psychologies of motivation, and a reflection of post-psychology as a way forward. Second, this discussion takes us back to fundamental problems with subjectivity, and with psychology, even critical psychology, as a way of addressing it. Third, out of this theoretical work come concepts that are put to work in understanding practices of modelling and cultivating motives – clinical, social work, and educational practices. In the first instance, as a critique of contemporary pragmatic practices, and then by rearticulating aesthetic practices as ways to expand and overcome those. Fourth, this has implications for the cultivation of the competence in care for motives, and for the place of theory in this competence. The book provides both a theoretical argument and a resource for those professionals in education, social work, and health who seek a qualitative understanding of what they do.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages283
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-43493-8
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-43494-5
Publication statusPublished - 2023
SeriesTheory and History in the Human and Social Sciences (THHSS)


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