Academic journal article Outlines : Critical Practice Studies

"Toward a Psychology of Everyday Living" - A Review of Schraube, E. & Højholt, C. (Eds.) (2016). Psychology and the Conduct of Everyday Life. New York: Routledge

Academic journal article Outlines : Critical Practice Studies

"Toward a Psychology of Everyday Living" - A Review of Schraube, E. & Højholt, C. (Eds.) (2016). Psychology and the Conduct of Everyday Life. New York: Routledge

Article excerpt

Introduction

Psychology and the Conduct of Everyday Life is a new book from Routledge, edited by Ernst Schraube and Charlotte Højholt from Roskilde University, that strives to bring psychology out of the laboratory and beyond individual heads toward the everyday lives of human beings in contemporary contradictory societies. The book begins with a clarifying and forward-looking Introduction that presents the concept of the psychology of everyday living and gives an account of the formation and challenges of this approach in psychology. The Introduction also gives a nice overview of the 13 articles included in the book. The articles are written by researchers from Europe, North America and Oceania who come from the fields of psychology, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy. Even though it is mainly European and psychological, the composition of the book reminds the reader of the meaning of keeping the discussions open globally and with relation to other disciplines.

The editors suggest in the Introduction that the approaches presented in the book also direct psychological attention beyond the individual and his/her immediate social relations "to the social conditions in and with which the people act, participate and live their everyday life" (Højholt & Schraube, PCEL, p. 1). The concept of the conduct of everyday life also "includes the question of how people are subjected to socio-material dispositions of power, knowledge and discourse" (Højholt & Schraube, PCEL, p. 1). In addition, the editors suggest that the emerging psychology of everyday living would be able to facilitate explorations of "emerging new ways of everyday living and how these contribute to remaking the social world" (Højholt & Schraube, PCEL, p. 1). For those who do not think that this sounds like a proper scientific psychology, the editors explain that the idea is precisely to "promote fundamental renewal of psychological theory, methodology and practice" (Højholt & Schraube, PCEL, p. 1).

The book shows that this renewal was not invented yesterday, but stems from decades of theoretical and empirical work. And, even though the emphasis is on German- Scandinavian critical psychology - or: Critical Psychology, as many of the authors put it - there are also authors who do not start with this tradition, but come to everyday life from different directions. As the editors explain, the relations between the authors (also those coming from the tradition of Critical Psychology) are not self-evident: the authors use the same or similar concepts in a somewhat different manner. The book is thus not an authoritative introduction to what the conduct of everyday life means and how it is to be researched. Rather, it is a new beginning that invites the reader to participate in the book's worthy endeavours. Nevertheless, it is good for beginning and advanced students, as well as for research groups who wish to conduct research on the conduct of everyday life, as it discusses the concept, methodology and practice at different levels and in different contexts (e.g., in higher education, day care, and working with homeless men).

In this review, I begin with a discussion of the concept of the conduct of everyday life in sociology and in psychology. The discussion moves toward the transformative dimension of the conduct of everyday life, and the relationship between person and society in general. Next, I concentrate on the concept of "reasons for action", which is central in many articles of the book with regard to researching the conduct of everyday life. I discuss the limits of reason, as well as the question of different languages in the making of the psychology of everyday living. Before concluding, I take a brief look at concrete examples of how to utilize and develop the concept of the conduct of everyday life in different contexts. I also address ideological individualism and the question of how psychological research can contribute to a more general striving toward the common good, instead of only advancing individual solutions. …

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