5 The politics of psychology
So far in this course, you have looked at the different ways in which social psychology can be used to understand the political. But what about the politics of psychology itself? Some social psychologists take an explicitly political stance and actively engage with questions of social justice and social change. While this is not a prevailing perspective in the discipline of psychology, there is a growing number of critically oriented scholars who are challenging the mainstream and are thinking about psychology in a more politically explicit way. Here, you will consider the work of two such psychologists – Mark Burton and Carolyn Kagan – both of whom work in the field of liberation psychology.
Activity 8 Pause for thought
As you learn about the work of these two academics, reflect on what it means for a discipline to be explicitly political, and whether this is something that we should be striving for. Write down your thoughts now, and then see if these two academics in the following sections can inspire you to rethink your position in any way.