Psychology as a social science

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3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the social role of psychology as it took shape across the 20th century, and argues that it was, in large part, this social vocation that provided the conditions for psychology establishing itself as an academic discipline. The development of psychology in this period was bound up with changes in the understanding and treatment of distress, conceptions of normality and abnormality, techniques of regulation, normalization, reformation and correction; on child rearing and education, advertising, marketing and consumption technologies and the management of human behaviour in practices from the factory to the military. Psychological languages entered common sense and professional discourse across Europe and North America, in Australasia, in Latin America and in many other countries. Human beings came to understand themselves as inhabited by a deep interior psychological space, to evaluate themselves and to act upon themselves and others in terms of this belief. As we enter the 21st century, the deep psychological space that opened within us is beginning to flatten out, and our discontents are being mapped directly onto the brain. Will the 21st century still be the century of psychology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-462
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


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