Race, Racism and Psychology: Towards a Reflexive History

Race, Racism and Psychology: Towards a Reflexive History

Race, Racism and Psychology: Towards a Reflexive History

Race, Racism and Psychology: Towards a Reflexive History

Synopsis

This book offers a comprehensive overview of the ways in which Psychology has engaged with 'race' and racism issues since the late 19thcentury. It emphasizes the complexities and convolutions of the story and attempts to elucidate the subtleties and occasional paradoxes that have arisen as a result.

This new edition updates the research contained in the first edition and includes brand new chapters. These additional chapters draw attention to the importance of the South African Black Consciousness movement and 'Post-colonial' Psychology,  explore recent additional historical research on the fears of 'hybridisation', contain new material on French colonial psychiatry, and discuss the awkward status of virtually all the language and terms currently used for discussion of the topic.

This important and controversial book has proved to be a vital text, both as a point of departure for more in-depth inquiries, and also as an essential reference tool.The additional up-to-date material included in this new edition makes the book an even more valuable resource to those working in and studying psychology, and also for anyone concerned with the 'race' issue either professionally or personally.

Excerpt

The world has changed greatly in the dozen years since this work first appeared. Mercifully for me, however, it is primarily a history book (albeit including more extended theoretical ruminations in places), rather than a review of the present situation. An overview of the current ‘landscape’ of race-related research has, though, been incorporated in the retitled Chapter 11, and in the new Chapter 12 some issues raised by Liberation Psychology are further discussed. The original text has mostly been left virtually unaltered, but a further Chapter 13 has been added. This reviews some significant historical work that has appeared since 1997, and earlier work that has since come to my attention, too difficult to incorporate elsewhere. It also includes a more personal summary of the linguistic problem as to how we actually talk about race-related matters. Chapter 7, on inter-war British Psychology has been expanded and what may have been read as a slightly rosy picture been adjusted, while a short account of the post-1945 decades in the UK is provided in a new Chapter 8. As far as I can see, these changes generally amplify and further clarify aspects of my original account rather than seriously challenge them. A few points may nevertheless be noted here regarding how the situation regarding ‘race’ and racism issues has shifted. In the first edition I described the ‘race and IQ’ controversy as ‘undead’, but while those advocating ‘race’ difference in IQ remain as active as ever in the United States, it remains quiescent (with one individual exception) beyond its borders, so I keep my fingers crossed (see Chapter 10). Within both Psychology and western societies at large, the ‘racism’ issue has shifted register. The process of ‘racialisation’, ‘mixed parentage’ (or ‘biraciality’) studies, discourse analysis, new psychoanalytic approaches and Liberation Psychology (often interwoven) have effectively and productively supplanted the older social Psychological ‘attitude’ paradigm. Concern over ‘institutional racism’ has also come to greater prominence, while it is now often religious prejudice (notably against Muslims) that attracts most attention. One aspect of this, alluded to already, is that the inadequacy of the language in which we discuss and label the problem has become increasingly obvious. A number of minor changes, mostly references to new historical work, have been incorporated throughout.

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