By Wahbie Long
This publication represents the 1st try and historicise and theorise appeals for ‘relevance’ in psychology. It argues that the patience of questions about the ‘relevance’ of psychology derives from the discipline’s terminal lack of ability to outline its subject material, its reliance on a socially disinterested technology to underwrite its wisdom claims, and its consequent failure to handle itself to the wishes of a quickly altering global.
The chapters cross directly to give some thought to the ‘relevance’ debate inside South African psychology, by way of seriously analysing discourse of forty-five presidential, keynote and starting addresses introduced at annual nationwide psychology congresses among 1950 and 2011, and observes how appeals for ‘relevance’ have been complicated by way of reactionary, innovative and radical psychologists alike.
The e-book offers, additionally, the provocative thesis that the progressive quest for ‘social relevance’ that begun within the Sixties has been supplanted by way of an ethic of ‘market relevance’ that threatens to isolate the self-discipline nonetheless farther from the anxieties of broader society. With robust curiosity teams carrying on with to co-opt psychologists with out relent, it is a improvement that simply psychologists of sense of right and wrong can arrest.
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Extra info for A History of “Relevance” in Psychology
3. In his address, Miller suggested that psychologists needed to think beyond their scientific obligations in order to realize their responsibilities as citizens: “The demand for social relevance that we have been voicing as psychologists 38 A HISTORY OF “RELEVANCE” IN PSYCHOLOGY is only one aspect of a general dissatisfaction with the current state of our society. 1074). 4. Ruben Ardila repeats three times in one paper that “science is not a cultural value in Latin America” (1982, pp. 103). Nonetheless, it can be asserted that psychologists in Central and South America have been influenced broadly by psychoanalysis, “French” psychology, and Skinnerian behaviorism, and have tended to apply themselves to the specific problems of their countries to the extent that, by the 1920s, the discipline was already an established part of public life (Pickren and Rutherford 2010).
4 In the 1950s and 1960s—when popular movements against economic oppression sprung up in the region—psychology in particular and the social sciences in general proved especially receptive, articulating critical perspectives committed to social justice. Drawing on ideas from liberation theology, critical pedagogy, and other traditions (Burton and Kagan 2005), the Liberation Social Psychology (LSP) movement was launched, in part, not only as the product of the service orientation within Latin American psychology, but also as the result of an autonomously functioning intellectual culture that distanced itself from state interests (Jiménez 1990 cited in Burton and 28 A HISTORY OF “RELEVANCE” IN PSYCHOLOGY Kagan 2005).
That none of them did, had much to do with the Zeitgeist; by contrast, a tipping point had been reached in the late 1960s and early 1970s, brought on by an accumulation of political crises. Domestic wiretapping, the Watergate scandal, and the American public’s growing knowledge of the excesses of biomedical research resonated with underlying themes of invasion of privacy, distrust of authority, and scientific accountability (Rosnow 1981). In the non-American appeals for “relevance,” however, a second factor must be considered.
A History of “Relevance” in Psychology by Wahbie Long