This book covers key movements that helped to shape psychology – from the early philosophical debate between rationalism and empiricism or realists and antirealists through to the emergence of psychology as a science and the ongoing debates about ‘objectivity’ and ‘truth’ and what a science of psychology should be. Often nuanced and complex, the author examines major conceptual issues in the history of psychology that continue to be debated and influence public policy and lay understanding. The latter stages of the book explore notions of individuality, hereditarianism, critical psychology, and feminist perspectives. While deeply rooted in human history, it is made clear that psychology, how it is conceived and practiced, has a bearing on our understanding of what it is to be human. Accessible, objective and above all comprehensive, this book will help students locate psychology in the wider field of science and understand the forces that continue to shape and define it.

Critical Psychology and Feminist Psychology

Critical Psychology and Feminist Psychology

Critical Psychology and Feminist Psychology

Learning Objective

In the previous chapter we considered some of the criticisms that have been made of mainstream psychology. This chapter continues that theme but differs in that the criticisms are levied, not by individuals, but by collectives of scholars who share a common concern. Overall they may all be included under the banner of ‘critical psychologies.’ According to critical psychologies, psychology has to include historical and social analysis (Billig, 2008). As a product of their age, their culture, and the web of social relations, by which individuals are constituted as psychological beings, the context of life cannot be ignored. Individual psychology, rather than explained in terms of ‘individualism,’ is situated socially and historically.

According to the ...

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