To be or not to be … a psychologist: critical and feminist dilemmas.

Ciclitira, Karen and Capdevila, Rose and Marzano, Lisa and Adams, Eike (2008) To be or not to be … a psychologist: critical and feminist dilemmas. In: 2008 BPS Annual Conference., 4 February 2008, Dublin.

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Objectives: As critiques of disciplinarity become more widespread across academia, the notion of psychology as a clearly bounded and coherent discipline comes into question, particularly in its current form. This paper will reflect on how feminist and critical psychologists endorse, resist and negotiate the professional identity of ‘psychologist’ in relation to other politically informed positions that they simultaneously occupy. Methodology: Interviews were conducted with women who identify as feminist and/or critical psychologists to ascertain what issues were raised as relevant to their identity as such. The interviews were conducted by the authors of this paper, who identify themselves as both feminist and critical psychologists. A semi-structured interview format was used. The interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. The data was analysed by all four authors of this paper, both individually and collectively. The analysis and interpretation drew on processes developed within the frameworks of thematic analysis (e.g. Braun & Clarke 2006) and discourse analysis (Burman & Parker 1993; Willig 2003). Analysis: Extracts portrayed a wide range of experiences as well as divergent standpoints about psychology. This paper will discuss the links and disjunctions relevant to these experiences and standpoints, in relation to broader debates within and across the discipline. For instance, despite the problematisation of psychology on both conceptual and methodological grounds, and even while working within a critical and transdisciplinary framework, participants continue to be positioned, and often position themselves, as ‘psychologists’. Discussion: Since the emergence of the so called ‘crisis’ in the sciences generally, and in the social sciences specifically, feminist and critical approaches have deconstructed psychology and its problematic role in the (re)production of oppressive practices and discourses. This paper will argue that the intersectionality of these positions provides the background for presenting new ways of reconceptualising aspects of the discipline.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas:A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Applied Health Psychology group
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Forensic Psychology Research Group
ID Code:5048
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Deposited On:12 Apr 2010 06:58
Last Modified:20 Mar 2015 15:41

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