What is Critical Psychology?
Critical Psychology encompasses a diversity of approaches within Psychology including Social Constructionist, Post-structuralist, Critical Feminist and Discursive Psychologies. Critical Psychologists therefore draw from a wide range of theoretical and methodological works both within and outside of Psychology. Its trans-disciplinary influences include critical theory, feminist scholarship, queer theory, Marxist and socialist theory, post-structuralist and postmodern theories, psychoanalysis, ethnomethodology, literary criticism, philosophy and cultural studies.
Whilst there are important differences between the different approaches within Critical Psychology they also have in common a concern with analysing written and spoken texts and other forms of symbolic representation and practice. The Critical Psychology Research Group are particularly interested in analysing visual as well as textual materials and exploring the ways in which the visual can be theorised and used in critical psychological research and scholarship.
Broadly speaking, Critical Psychology is concerned with the ways in which ‘realities’ – objects, events, identities, experiences and everyday practices of living – are constructed within and by particular culturally-specific discourses or ways of talking or writing; with the ways in which culturally dominant (or subverting) ‘versions of reality’ are produced as ‘truth’; and with the ways in which these ‘regimes of truth’ re-produce particular relations of power and regulate us in culturally-specific ways.
Critical Psychology thus entails critiques of Psychology as well as other disciplines, institutionally-sanctioned and everyday discourses. These include critiques of the empiricist and individualising meta-theoretical assumptions underpinning ‘mainstream’ Psychological theory and research and critiques of the political functions and impact of Psychological theory and practice in everyday life. Critical Psychology also entails research which aims to produce socio-culturally, historically, politically and discursively contextualised understandings of ‘psychological phenomena’. Examples of critical psychological research conducted by members of this research group include explorations of ‘the individual’, gender, ‘eating disorders’, body-management, clothing practices, appearance, sexuality and relationships. See also External Links for more information about Critical Psychology and Critical Psychological Research.
Kilde: University of West England - The Critical Psychology Research Group
Annual Review of Critical Psychology is available in print as four separate special issues which have been published rather sporadically (not annually). These print versions, issues 1-4, are peer-reviewed international publications (ISSN 1464-0538). From issue number 5, Annual Review of Critical Psychology will be available as a peer-reviewed online open-access journal, published on this site (ISSN 1746-739X).
Finn tidskriftet i Bibsys eller Bibliotekportalen. Fortsetter som Subjectivity fra vol. 22, 2008.
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Critical psychology alerts us to the limitations of mainstream research in the discipline, and it promises to put 'social' issues on the agenda in the whole of psychology. A starting point of the stance of critical psychological research is that the claims that psychologists make about human beings often seem to vanish almost as quickly as they are discovered. People, a group or culture do not behave or think like the model would predict, and, more importantly, we find that our awareness, our reflection on a process described by a psychologist changes that process. It is in the nature of human nature to change, to change as different linguistic resources, social practices, and representations of the self become available, and for human nature to change itself as people reflect on who they are and who they may become. That means that any attempt to fix us in place must fail. But it will only fail in such a way that something productive emerges from it if we do something different, and one place to do something different is in psychology. We need to step back and look at the images of the self, mind and behaviour that psychologists have produced, the types of practices they engage in, and the power those practices, those 'technologies of the self' have to set limits on change. When we appreciate this, we can start to look at what psychologists might do instead as part of a genuinely critical approach.
Social and Personality Psychology Compass 1/1 (2007): 1–15.
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