Psychology in Social Context: Issues and Debates

Psychology in Social Context: Issues and Debates

Psychology in Social Context: Issues and Debates

Psychology in Social Context: Issues and Debates

Synopsis

Psychology in Social Context: Issues and Debates provides a critical perspective on debates and controversies that have divided opinion within psychology both past and present.?
  • Explores the history of psychology through examples of classic and contemporary debates that have split the discipline and sparked change, including race and IQ, psychology and gender, ethical issues in psychology, parapsychology and the nature-nurture debate
  • Represents a unique approach to studying the nature of psychology by combining historical controversies with contemporary debates within the discipline
  • Sets out a clear view of psychology as a reflexive human science, embedded in and shaped by particular socio-historical contexts
  • Written in an accessible style using a range of pedagogical features - such as set learning outcomes, self-test questions, and further reading suggestions at the end of each chapter?

Excerpt

Recent years have seen an increasing recognition of issues with psychology, and a growth in critical approaches to the discipline. However, existing texts in critical psychology are rather advanced for most readers. This book provides an accessible introduction to ideas in critical psychology, highlighting key debates about the assumptions, practices, and claims of the discipline. It takes a distinctive approach of considering historical controversies in psychology to show the ways in which psychology is embedded within particular sociohistorical contexts. Using a range of examples – including IQ measurement, gender, ethics in psychology, parapsychology, and the nature-nurture debate – we show that the discipline is shaped by the ways in which it interrelates with society, and that positions taken towards fundamental issues in psychology are reflections of that social context. The approach we take has a number of advantages over more conventional treatments of issues and debates in psychology, which discuss them in isolation and in quite abstract terms. Our approach allows us to provide concrete examples of the impact of these debates on psychological thought and practice. Our emphasis is on understanding issues in psychology in the context of wider psychological thought, and in the context of society. Thus, for example, bias is considered in talking about psychology’s dealings with gender and with race, and also in considering methodology; while the discussion of ethics considers how ethical standards are constructed by society, but are challenged by the demands of governments and other organizations. In addressing these debates, we develop a conceptual framework for understanding the nature of psychology as a reflexive human science.

The material covered in the book is intended to address the topic area of conceptual and historical issues in psychology, as outlined in the British Psychological Society’s syllabus requirements for accredited undergraduate courses in psychology, and in the UK Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education’s subject benchmarks for psychology degrees. It shows how the lessons of history can inform understanding of contemporary psychology, and applies that understanding to issues such as the status of scientific psychology, reductionism, the nature-nurture debate, and ethics in psychology research and practice. A particular emphasis is . . .

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