The Story of Sociality: Psychology in Society

Asserting that some phenomenon exists in society is so banal that it warrants not being taken notice of. And yet Psychology in society, all those 30 years ago now, asserted precisely that psychology was in society. Well, where else could psychology be, if not in society? The obviousness of locating psychology in society was against a backdrop of the psychology mainstream in South Africa during the 1980s that was firmly in the grip of a psychology “floating” above the flotsam and jetsam of social issues, and seemingly uncontaminated by the polluting ideologies of politics. Mainstream academic psychology positioned itself “above”, not in, society as it pursued its research programmes according to value-neutral scientific principles. South African establishment Psychology during the apartheid 1980s defined (and in many instances, psychology around the world, still defines) itself as a science, and thus saw itself as separate from the political vicissitudes of everyday life. The aloofness of psychology, and other human and social disciplines for that matter, was especially galling to a predominantly young and radical group of academics and practitioners, who refused to separate the commitment to intellectual and research pursuits from the commitment to striving for a just and non-racist society.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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