October 1, 2019
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v2.1 Reference

Psychology and Politics

Intersections of Science and Ideology in the History of Psy-Sciences

Psy-sciences (psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, pedagogy, criminology, special education, etc.) have been connected to politics in different ways since the early twentieth century. Here in twenty-two essays scholars address a variety of these intersections from a historical perspective. The chapters include such diverse topics as the cultural history of psychoanalysis, the complicated relationship between psychoanalysis and the occult, and the struggles for dominance between the various schools of psychology. They show the ambivalent positions of the "psy" sciences in the dictatorships and authoritarian regimes of Nazi Germany, East European communism, Latin-American military dictatorships, and South African apartheid, revealing the crucial role of psychology in legitimating and "normalizing" these regimes. The authors also discuss the ideological and political aspects of mental health and illness in Hungary, Germany, post-WW1 Transylvania, and Russia. Other chapters describe the attempt by critical psychology to understand the production of academic, therapeutic, and everyday psychological knowledge in the context of the power relations of modern capitalist societies.

About the Authors

Anna Borgos is Research Fellow is Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Ferenc Erős DSc is Professor Emeritus at the Doctoral School of Psychology, University of Pécs, Hungary.

Júlia Gyimesi is Associate Professor at the Department of Personality and Clinical Psychology, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Budapest.


"Psychology and Politics brings together an intriguing set of essays on the ever-ambivalent relationships of various psy-sciences to geopolitics and personal political commitments alike. Special attention is paid to conditions under repressive regimes (from the Russian Empire to Nazi Germany, and from Eastern European state socialism to military-dictatorship Brazil and apartheid South Africa), along with contexts of war or of anti-Semitic upheavals. A major strength of the collection lies also in the wealth of evocative primary material assembled here. The essays are moving, vivid, informative, and revelatory."—Dagmar Herzog

"This rich collection of essays traces the complex interplay between the psychological sciences and politics in twentieth-century history. It provides a thought-provoking and sometimes unsettling account, from the direct implementation of policies to more indirect, hidden, and mediated forms of social, ideological, and cultural influence. Two things in particular make the book stand out: a geographical emphasis on the less discussed Eastern and Central European regions, and critically engaging with the topics of trauma, social injustice, and political-ethical responsibility in the history of psychoanalysis." —Tuomas Laine-Frigren
Central European University Press, an imprint of Central European University Press

9789633863121 : psychology-and-politics-borgos-gyimesi-er-s
374 Pages
$95.00 USD

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