A History of Modern Psychology in Context

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9780470276099: A History of Modern Psychology in Context

A fresh look at the history of psychology placed in its social, political, and cultural contexts

A History of Modern Psychology in Context presents the history of modern psychology in the richness of its many contexts. The authors resist the traditional storylines of great achievements by eminent people, or schools of thought that rise and fall in the wake of scientific progress. Instead, psychology is portrayed as a network of scientific and professional practices embedded in specific temporal, social, political, and cultural contexts. The narrative is informed by three key concepts—indigenization, reflexivity, and social constructionism—and by the fascinating interplay between disciplinary Psychology and everyday psychology.

The authors complicate the notion of who is at the center and who is at the periphery of the history of psychology by bringing in actors and events that are often overlooked in traditional accounts. They also highlight how the reflexive nature of Psychology—a science produced both by and about humans—accords history a prominent place in understanding the discipline and the theories it generates.

Throughout the text, the authors show how Psychology and psychologists are embedded in cultures that indelibly shape how the discipline is defined and practiced, the kind of knowledge it creates, and how this knowledge is received. The text also moves beyond an exclusive focus on the development of North American and European psychologies to explore the development of psychologies in other indigenous contexts, especially from the mid-20th-century onward.

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About the Author:

Wade E. Pickren, PhD, is the Historian of the American Psychological Association. For eight years, Wade was both APA Historian and Director of Archives. He is currently on the psychology faculty at Ryerson University in Toronto and continues to serve as APA Historian.

Alexandra Rutherford, PhD, is Associate Professor of psychology in the History and Theory of Psychology Graduate Program at York University. She is the official historian of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and the Heritage Chair of the Society for the Psychology of Women.

Review:

"Pickren and Rutherford want to provide a history of psychology that describes how culture, race, ethnicity, and gender have influenced psychology's development within social, political, and economic contexts. They intend to provide a postmodern, social constructionist treatment of psychology’s history that is accessible to undergraduate students. In a number of other ways Pickren and Rutherford do a good job of providing an original description of the field’s social and historical contexts. They do a credible job of providing an alternative version of our discipline's history that students and professors ready for a postmodern textbook will find novel and instructive." (PsycCRITIQUES, September 15, 2010)

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