Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences


Fare Thee Well, Don Beck!

Don Beck – or ‘Dr Don E Beck’ or ‘Dr Don Edward Beck’ as he frequently preferred to style himself – passed on Tuesday 24 May. He had been relatively inactive for at least a year or so prior to his death. After my father, he was almost certainly the man who has influenced me most in my life.  Yet I wasn’t close to him nor a confidante to any significant degree. I wouldn’t have called him a friend, more a professional acquaintance. However, his influence on my life has been truly profound. In my tribute to his one-time business partner Chris Cowan – see Fare Thee Well, Christopher Cowan – who died in 2015, I recalled my first meetings with Don & Chris and how their Spiral Dynamics model transformed my life. It not only lead to resolutions of major issues in my own life but reignited and refuelled (with accelerant!) my interest in Psychology and the behavioural sciences. From there I took a deep dive into Psychology and Sociology, becoming an A-Level teacher in both disciplines. However, my explorations of the behavioural sciences were always underpinned by the first thing Don said that caught my attention at the first… Read More

Clare W Graves’ Research

Updated: 12 February 2021 Clare W Graves (1914-1986) was the psychologist on whose work Spiral Dynamics (Don Beck & Chris Cowan, 1996) and several other powerful and practical conceptual models have been built. Although he achieved the eminent position of ‘Professor of Psychology Emeritus’ at Union College, Schenectady, New York State, when he retired through ill health in 1978, he was not particularly well known outside of certain academic and management theory networks and he has been largely ignored since his death. However, his model and the theory that supports it are without doubt amongst the most powerful and certainly the most cohesive and comprehensive of all attempts to map the development of the human psyche. Those who get to grips with Graves’ work tend to become decidedly passionate about it – such is the power of the model! His work is critical and fundamental to the aims of Psychology and the other behavioural sciences and is at the core of Integrated SocioPsychology. Graves was an associate professor at Union when he began his remarkable project in 1952. (He became a full professor in 1956.) At the time Graves recognised the frustration of his students when trying to make sense of the… Read More

Prejudice & Discrimination Theories #2

PART 2 Realistic Conflict Theory It is widely recognised that people tend to identify with their groups. They also tend to have negative views about some other groups – out-groups. But why do some outgroups attract hostility and discrimination but others are treated neutrally or sometimes even admired? This is what Realistic Conflict Theory (RCT) tries to explain. RCT states that, whenever there are 2 or more groups seeking the same limited resources, this will lead to conflict, negative stereotypes and beliefs about the out-group – prejudice –  and discrimination between the groups. The negative beliefs about the out-group become shared memes, affecting the schematic set-up of the group members. The conflict generated can lead to increasing animosity and eventually to violence. Competition over resources can be played out as a ‘zero-sum game’, in which only one group is the winner (obtained the needed or wanted resources) and the other loses (unable to obtain the limited resource due to the winning group achieving the limited resource first). The likely length and severity of the conflict is based upon the perceived value and shortage of the given resource. It is tempting to think of ‘limited resources’ as BEIGE survival needs – eg:… Read More

Graves: Systems more than Stages

30 August 2020 Historically Psychology is full of stage theories. From Sigmund Freud’s (1905) Psychosexual Stages, through Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages, Jean Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development, Abraham Maslow’s (1943) Hierarchy of Needs, Lawrence Kohlberg’s (1958) Stages of Moral Development, Jane Loevinger’s (1976) Stages of Ego Development to Michael Commons et al’s (1998) Model of Hierarchical Complexity, etc, etc, etc. Sociology has a fair few stage theories too – such as Max Weber’s (1922) Social Action Theory and Theodore Adorno et al’s (1950) Types of Prejudiced & Unprejudiced Persons. A stage is a period in development – often, but not always, related to age – in which people exhibit behaviour patterns and establish particular capacities typical to that particular stage. Most stage theories have people pass through the stages in a specific order, with each stage building on capacities developed in the previous stage. This suggests that the development of certain abilities in each stage, such as specific emotions or ways of thinking, have a definite starting and ending point – ie: the stages are discreet from each other The pros and cons of stage theories Stage theories allow us to look at motivations, emotions, cognitions and behaviours that seem to cluster… Read More

SocioPsychological Factors in Crime #4

PART 4 Defining behaviour as crime Picking up from Sutherland’s 9th principle – also discussed earlier when exploring the work of Bonger and considered in Crime & Deviance – the Difference – who decides what is criminal and what is deviant is no simple matter. Nor are there absolute definitions as even Functionalists argue definitions can change over time and between cultures. In the Interactionist view laws are, to all intents and purposes, political products that reflect the power of some groups to impose on others their memes of right and wrong and normality. Thus, Anthony Giddens (1993, p128) writes: “The labels applied to create categories of deviance thus express the power structures of society.” This goes beyond the Marxist view that the social control is about Capitalists using the law to control the working classes.  Howard Becker’s (1963) application of Labelling Theory to crime and deviance posits that, rather than a fixed scenario of the Capitalists dictating values that reflect their interests in society and are enforced via the legal system, in fact politics is a competition between different groups to gain the power to impose their values on others. Routes to such power obviously include legislative institutions such as Parliament… Read More

Money, Islamophobia and the Surge in Right-Wing Extremism

The mosque shootings in New Zealand on 15 March may represent a significant step up in anti- Muslim right-wing terrorism. At the time of writing, while there has been no further incident of major large-scale violence against Muslims, there has been a significant increase in anti-Muslim rhetoric and minor assaults, both verbal and physical, In the UK alone, in the week following the massacre in Christchurch, The Guardian’s Vikram Dodd reports: “…95 incidents were reported… between 15 March, the day of the New Zealand atrocity, and midnight on 21 March. Of those, 85 incidents – 89% of the total – contained direct references to the New Zealand attacks and featured gestures such as mimicking firearms being fired at Muslims…. Verbal abuse directed at Muslims in London in separate incidents is alleged to have included shouts of ‘you need to be shot’, ‘you deserve it’ and ‘Muslims must die’. Incidents were reported in Scotland, where a mosque was attacked; in Stanwell, Surrey, where police declared the stabbing of a teenager to be a suspected far-right terror attack; and in Lancashire. Meanwhile in Birmingham, police continue to hunt for those behind sledgehammer attacks on five mosques.” After the Charlie Hedo shootings in 2015, Juan… Read More


International Speaker and Author 1988-1996    1997   1998     1999     2000     2001    2002      2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014      2015     2016     2017     2018      2019     2020    2021-2022 21st Century Group     HemsMESH     Humber MeshWORKS     Humberside MESH Network January: Invited by Said E Dawlabani to be a keynote speaker at the Spiral Dynamics Summit on the Future conference in Dallas, Texas 20-22 April. Commentary: In format at least, this was to be modelled in part on Don Beck’s Annual Confab. (I had been to the first in 2000.) Said intended it to be both a tribute to Don’s legacy and a major gathering of Gravesians to consider the current state of the world and what the Graves approach could offer it. The excerpt left is from Shipley College Star #41 which ran a short piece on the invitation. January-March: Ran Psychology Topics #5: Memory, Prejudice & Discrimination evening classes at both Shipley College and Rossett. Commentary: Both were great classes that really gelled – though I managed to get the Rosset class into 2 quite hostile and competitive groups to demonstrate Social Identity Theory! That didn’t work quite as well at Shipley… Read More


All Change again! 1988-1996    1997   1998     1999     2000     2001    2002      2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014      2015     2016     2017     2018      2019     2020    2021-2022 21st Century Group     HemsMESH     Humber MeshWORKS     Humberside MESH Network January-March: Ran a 9-week version of Understanding Yourself & Others: an Introduction to Psychology for Rossett. Commentary: For various reasons, this was the first ‘Intro’ course we had run since 2012. It was one of the best attended courses I had run for Rossett; and, while it wasn’t without its challenges, they proved a delightful class to work with. 4 were returners from the last Psychology Topics course and almost all of them expressed a strong desire to take part in the next Psychology Topics. April: Left Woodhouse Grove to concentrate on my private tuition and therapy businesses. Commentary: More than any other school I had been involved with since the days of HemsMESH – perhaps because of the GREEN in their Methodist tradition – Woodhouse Grove saw education as being about developing the whole person. This was something I had been banging on about since I had written Formation more than Education… Read More


Endings and Beginnings 1988-1996    1997   1998     1999     2000     2001    2002      2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014      2015     2016     2017     2018      2019     2020    2021-2022 21st Century Group     HemsMESH     Humber MeshWORKS     Humberside MESH Network January-April: Supported 2 individual therapy clients for what turned out to be a prolonged series of sessions for both of them, requiring an almost Psychoanalytic approach to explore deep historical issues. Commentary: One of the clients was based in another country, requiring us to use Skype. Also, English was not the first language of this client. What we were able to accomplish in those sessions far exceeded my expectations – though the client’s willingness to try techniques and her determination to progress her issues were critical factors in the success of the sessions. March: The Woodhouse Grove results from the Psychology A-Level exams in January showed a solid improvement over the previous January, with almost no Us and a couple of pretty good As. This time around it was the Rossett Psychology results which were mixed. Amongst the small handful of Sociology students at Rossett, one got an A and 2 Bs.… Read More


Adult Education Teacher 1988-1996    1997   1998     1999     2000     2001    2002      2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014      2015     2016     2017     2018      2019     2020    2021-2022 21st Century Group     HemsMESH     Humber MeshWORKS     Humberside MESH Network January-March: Delivered Psychology Topics – Prejudice & Obedience, Romantic Relationships and  Mental Health for Rossett’s Extended Schools Adult Education Programme. Commentary: For several months Extended Schools coordinator Malcolm Howe and I had been kicking around the idea of an ‘intermediate’ course for ‘graduates’ of the ‘Understanding Yourself & Others – an Introduction to Psychology’ course to further their leaning. When ‘Psychology Topics’ was finally staged, we were amazed at the number of participants who enrolled – having to cap enrolment at 16 for logistical reasons. About half came from the previous ‘Introduction…’ courses but just as many were totally new to my training. Malcolm had asked me to design the course so it wasn’t completely essential to have been on the ‘Introduction…’ course (though, clearly, it would help!) and I paired ‘newbies’ with ‘oldies’ when drawing upon concepts from the earlier programme. While there was a little drop out and not everyone could make… Read More