Theoretical contributions were also made on learning Holzkamp , Haug and on conceptualizing the personal conduct of everyday life Haug , Holzkamp b, Osterkamp As we shall see below, especially the personal conduct of everyday life has been used and developed further in Danish health practice research projects. Contact between critical psychologists in Germany and Denmark was initiated at the first International Congress for Psychology in Marburg, Frigga Haug and Christof Ohm were guest professors at the University of Copenhagen in and respectively, and Ole Dreier became a co-editor of Forum Kritische Psychologie in In particular, the Theory-Practice conferences that took place twice a year from to were a site of ongoing co-operation and exchanges Dreier These conferences were attended by both practitioners and researchers and aimed at working out ways of bridging the gap between theory and practice and of describing and developing psycho-social practices from a critical psychological perspective.
This guide to the analysis of structures and contents of concrete psychological practices was developed by being put to use and being discussed at the conferences. The practice portrait is still used and discussed as a tool for working with e. A further and much less formalised way of exchanging knowledge and cooperating was practiced by Danish and German students and PhD students during the first half of the s.
A group of students actively engaged in mutual visits and exchange seminars held at both the Free University in Berlin and the University of Copenhagen and students from both places spent a term or more under the auspices of student exchange programmes. Both authors of this article took part in these activities as graduate students and most of the academics mentioned in this article participated as hosts, invited speakers, chairs, tutors etc. Below we want to add to the picture of German-Danish critical psychology by tracing the development of a few core categories and showing how they have been worked on continuously by different writers.
As you will see, conceptual developments are not linear processes towards pre-fixed goals and they do not establish a complete theory with definitive concepts. We argue that theoretical developments may be viewed as grounded in ongoing theoretically and methodologically specified attempts at developing adequate psychological concepts for the analysis and understanding of particular practices and for particular problems in human life. Theoretical developments are grounded in political, collective and practical work done by researchers and co-researchers situated in contexts outside the universities.
These contexts may be well-established social practices as well as fringe or grassroots practices. The examples of conceptual developments also allow a glimpse of the issues Danish critical psychological practices researchers are presently involved in and of the various ways they get involved when doing practice research in co-operation with persons from practices outside the universities.
The conceptualisation of a psychology from the standpoint of the subject Holzkamp is formulated as a critical alternative to mainstream psychological theorising.
Mainstream psychology is thus criticised for resulting in personal compliance rather than in active engagement with changing repressive societal conditions. The scientific foundation for critical psychology is informed by historical dialectical materialism . The conceptualisation of subjectivity in critical psychology is an explicit attempt at overcoming the external relationship of individual versus society and establishing the subject as societal.
This is a parallel effort with attempts in activity theory at understanding how subjects become what they are in relations in the concrete material world. In Grundlegung der Psychologie, Holzkamp argues for the fundamental societal nature of subject as a basis for unfolding psychological theories. Subjects are characterised by living in societal structures with conditions that pose possibilities and constraints in their lives.
Thus, critical psychology is a theoretical as well as an emancipatory and political project. This is reflected in the Danish context where an extensive number of practice research projects have been carried out in cooperation with practitioners and users outside the universities see paragraph 5. Some of these projects have managed to establish long-term working relationships and ongoing exchanges between researchers, practitioners and even users.
In Grundlegung Holzkamp the methodological approach to current empirical research is termed practice research. Holzkamp argues that methods have to be adequate with respect to the phenomenon we want to study and that human subjectivity is best studied by getting at first person perspectives. By getting at first person perspectives it becomes possible to analyse how individual existence is mediated through the overall societal context.
The core of the analysis consists of identifying relevant conditions that matter in specific ways in the lives of subjects and in the practices studied, what conditions mean to subjects and practices, and how actions are subjectively reasoned. This is a way of working out specific psychological theories about possibilities and limitations and to generalise about possibilities in structures of social practice.
Below we trace the development of some main categories worked out in Grundlegung Holzkamp and other influential texts through the succeeding theorising of other critical psychological researchers primarily in the Danish context. We are acutely aware of the selective nature of the presentation, which does not amount to an overview of the development of core categories from Grundlegung ibid. However, we hope to convey a sense of the ways in which researchers have been and still are working with German-Danish critical psychology and the kinds of analysis and understandings that have come out of this work.
In Grundlegung, Holzkamp conceives of the overall societal action context as a category that points to an overarching societal structure. As this category was conceived in the singular by Holzkamp it has been criticised for amounting to a theoretical abstraction in need of concretisation in order to be useful in empirical analysis of persons and collectives in concrete social practices.
Both Dreier , and Nissen have, in different ways, worked on theories of concrete contexts of action in the plural. Further, the analysis of personal trajectories of participation can be concretely anchored in an understanding of how trajectories are made up of the personal traversing of various contexts of social practice where persons live and participate in relation to others, across time and space in societally structured arrangements. Integrating concepts from poststructuralism e.
Nissen shows how the hash consuming street kid Linda reproduces and transgresses her own position and understanding of herself by re producing one version of what Sjakket is all about.
In so doing she participates in the production of Sjakket as a project working on the premises of the users. In that way the local culture and the local ideologies of Sjakket are produced both by the participants in Sjakket and in relation to the changes in the dominating discourses of social work. The importance of researching in and across action contexts — theorising about connections and disconnections between action contexts and analysing how these dis connections matter in life, has also been developed in close long-term co-operation with professionals and users working on the border of the social system and more from the inside of the Danish social practice of Pedagogical Psychological Counselling PPR.
Where communities of local lads e. These kinds of analyses highlight differences and similarities in co-operation and boundary practices that mediate meanings and connections across various practice ideologies as part of communities of practices, such as street communities of local wild lads and the wild social street worker community, as well as how they constitute powerful alternatives to marginalising discourses and marginalising practice within the social system.
This also mirrors the common goal of the involved practitioners and researchers of producing new understandings and practices of how to overcome constraints, creating new possibilities and trajectories for the wild youngsters. In Grundlegung action potence is worked out as the key category for characterising, and thus for understanding and studying, individual human subjectivity. Holzkamp conceives of action potence as the personal disposal over relevant life conditions mediated by society.
The relationship between the subject and the world is thus an active one: Holzkamp formulates it as having a double nature in that the person both helps produce her or his life conditions and is influenced by them. Action potence is a term of to what degree she or he is able to influence her life conditions.
It is produced in cooperation with others and depends on societal life conditions that are historically specific. Further, action potence is re produced on the functional grounds of subjective cognition and emotion and thereby in a close dialectic relation with societal conditions. Emotion and cognition are functional means for the ability to act and cannot be studied as abstract mechanisms.
This aspect of critical psychological theorising is worked out in detail by Osterkamp In her conceptualisation, cognition captures aspects of the world that hold subjective meaning while emotions focus and select what meaningful aspects are of specific personal relevance. Emotions help to evaluate what cognitively perceived material conditions in the world are subjectively important and thus tune in on personally relevant ways of acting in any specific situation. Emotion and cognition are of fundamental importance for pointing out individual possibilities for action and thus for lending direction to the conduct of life Osterkamp Situating action potence points from a function as a joint term for the personal prerequisites to act on any given life situation to a contextually bounded and situated collective prerequisite, in order e.
In this way action potence is both specified and becomes more varied in relation to various concrete contexts of action. Holzkamp characterises personal action potence by the possibility for acting in either generalised or restrictive ways in actual lives depending on the possibilities and constraints of actual life conditions and how they are perceived and evaluated.
The division of action potence into two distinct ways of handling life is a conceptual move to assist in uncovering actions that limit subjective disposal over relevant life conditions and to point to ways that widen disposal in the common interest of human beings. Restrictive ways of handling various aspects of everyday lives are widespread when acting from marginalised positions and under restrictive conditions and may often be functional in a short-term perspective.
Rather than receiving support, Muhammed is made to represent the problem. The teacher keeps making Mohammed and two other ethnic minority pupils sweep the floors and pick up the rubbish. They confront the teacher, asking him why it is always them and not the other Danish pupils who sweep the floors. The next day Mohammed and two of his friends find the teacher, push and kick him and get expelled from the school.
Ending the conflict with violence means reproducing the dominating discourse about ethnic minority youth as problematic and jeopardising their opportunities for doing something about being discriminated against. In a short-term perspective this may be functional under the given conditions. They remain at the school, gain access to future workplaces and preserve their opportunities to be certified as carpenters.
Potentially, this immediate functionality of restrictive actions may get in the way of recognising and doing something about those life conditions that limit the unfolding of life in meaningful directions, but it is often impossible to act otherwise without the support of others, such as researchers, the headmaster, teachers, other pupils, carpenters etc. Contrary to the intentions of conceptual assistance in the concrete development of generalised ways of acting, the binary concepts of generalising versus restrictive action potence sometimes put researchers at risk of evaluating on behalf of others, whether immediate functionality has actually got in the way of developing generalised ways of conducting life.
Used in this way it may create problematic divisions between critical psychologists pointing fingers at the restrictive actions of others, and thus positioning critical psychologists as experts knowing better. These kinds of problems partly explain why some researchers within Danish critical psychology do not use these specifications of action potence.
In order to make an analysis of what may count as generalised or restrictive action potence, researchers need to be in close dialogue with those concerned and to pay close attention to their perspectives. This is done by highlighting and criticising limiting conditions, demonstrating solidarity with the common course of transgressing marginalisation of suppressed groups, showing how it is often extremely complex and contradictory to transgress restrictive actions in practice by anyone acting alone. This is particularly true for those acting from disadvantaged positions such as marginalised ethnic minority pupils.
The concept of personality amounts to one of the core concepts in psychological theorising. Holzkamp does not carry out specific categorical work on personality in Grundlegung, but he does not avoid the term entirely Holzkamp A couple of years after the publication of Grundlegung he wrote a critique of the way the concept of personality functions in most psychological theories as well as in practice Holzkamp A. Apart from getting at the concept of personality from a different angle, this is another important step towards developing critical psychology to be sensitive to actual ways of living subjective lives and towards a still more encompassing understanding of how subjects come to live as they do.
Holzkamp stresses the cyclic nature of the conduct of everyday life B. He argues that routines are necessary in order to establish a concrete material basis on which life can be lived, and that they provide ontological security. He also makes a distinction between routines of everyday life and actual activities- e.
In a Danish context the conduct of everyday life has been taken up by Dreier, not as a way of characterising or distinguishing various activities, but as a critical project pointing to personal lives as continuous, coherent and conducted across contexts In his research on therapeutic practice Dreier points out that therapy is practised in one context but is supposed to assist changes taking place in others, i.
For this reason, it is problematic that much psychological research into how and why therapy works only evaluates what goes on in the therapy context and not in the places where therapy is supposed to be making a difference. The purpose of the study was to develop an understanding of the importance of the actual disease in family members to others, the importance of the awareness of risk in various members of the families and of the possibilities for genetic testing and reproductive medical technologies Huniche , The project of focussing on the conduct of everyday life is a way of decentring the analysis from the contexts where psychological researchers are often inclined to look, namely those where professionals are involved, those that are defined and delimited within institutional structures and more or less publicly available in contrast to the private lives of persons and families.
In the Huntington study, decentring meant focusing on the meaning of disease for all family members and their conduct of everyday life, rather than mainly focussing on those who were ill or the symptoms of disease itself. Dreier draws on Leontjev when he suggests that the primary functionality of personality is to link up personal ways of conducting life in concrete societal contexts. Personality is integrative and related to specific subject tasks rather than an inherent trait, as is maintained in the majority of psychological theories.
Only as subjects in societal relations do persons become personalities. Dreier conceives of personality in terms of its integrative capacity. Material conditions, life circumstances, and personal conduct and participation change across contexts and over time and the integrative tasks of personality change accordingly.
Integration is needed in order to coordinate mental functioning and conduct across contexts. Huniche builds on these endeavours by showing how existential concerns are not individual concerns to members of Huntington families in press. Rather, existential concerns come about and are handled in relations and in and across contexts. A critique of the concept of the person in existential psychology paves the way for the work on a different understanding of serious existential concerns in personal lives.
Huniche argues that the person in existential psychology is conceptualised as coming about in and by itself, rather than in social practice with other ibid. The solution to existential concerns within the existentialist framework thus becomes the personal work on the self. Important others have a bearing on personal well-being and choices. Perhaps the most striking example is that of a woman in her mids who has decided not to have the genetic test.
But as her three siblings one after another have the test and find out that they do not carry the gene, the experienced risk grows bigger and builds up an emotional pressure to find out.
The women reconsiders and finally get tested. Tragically, all her fears are confirmed when she learns that she is the carrier of the disease gene. Naturally, she has difficulty reconciling herself to this knowledge, but it is just as hard for the other family members to tackle the situation, which has a profound influence on family relations. How is critical psychology in the German-Danish context actually critical? And have ways of doing critique changed over time?
Nissen puts forth the following formative description of critique:. In other words, critique is the transformation of subjects mediated by their objectivation. In our understanding Nissen suggests that critique is a dialectic involving both a very practical question of bringing about changes anchored in the involved communities of practice researcher communities as well as the communities researched , and bringing about changes in practice ideologies.
This means reflecting changes in a theoretical framework, with respect to conceptualisations and ways of thinking among both researchers and practitioners. Reflection is understood as a means of systematically pointing changes in certain directions - in contrast to changes randomly mirroring dominating discourse within neoliberalist society. Critique is practised in several ways in critical psychology within the German-Danish context.
The critique of personalisation has been unfolded and developed in various practice research projects see 5. In the section on core concepts above we have shown how critical psychologists have worked on theoretical alternatives to personalising and marginalising understandings of and discourses about human problems, e.
The recent examples of critical psychological ways of working with the unity of critique and development in the German-Danish context represent development as implying critique and critique as implying potential development, insisting on an overall normative aim of expanding and generalising common interests in the continuous process of overcoming restrictive action potence. Critical contributions thus include theoretical critique, pointing out problems and limitations in other psychological frameworks e. The alternative critical psychological understanding includes viewing ways of acting at risk as functional and reasonable ways of handling the continuous everyday life issues of HD from a first person perspective.
This alternative theoretical understanding thus contributes to countering the stigmatisation of ways of acting that are not publicly explicit or visibly active by analysing them as ways of developing action potence under the restrictive conditions of living with a serious hereditary disease in the family Huniche Huniche has also directed a theoretical critique of the concept of the person in existential psychology for individualising the coming about and handling of existential concerns in everyday life.
Through a critical psychological analysis she argues that existential issues come about in relations in social practice and are handled as relational rather than as individual issues. The analysis contributes to the understanding of how existential concerns do not stem from and do not come about in the emotional lives of individual persons but amongst them and how existential concerns are not always of the same kind but vary with specific life circumstances.
Critical approaches have also been applied to categories within critical psychology itself. More recently, a number of theoretical contributions in the Danish context have been rather implicit about critique of other psychologies, but very explicit with respect to developing theoretical alternatives that are worked out critically while researching and participating in developing understandings of specific areas of practice.
This kind of work may also be viewed as a way of focussing research on the methodological principle of being practically relevant. The focus on relevance in social practice has prompted critical reflection of the limitations or lack of relevance within critical psychology itself and within a range of other scientific contributions to subject matters in relation to the practices being researched.
Critical psychological practice research in Denmark has been carried out in various areas of human life and practice. Contributions include analysis of the everyday lives of children across the contexts of family and day care institutions Kousholt , how special education matters to children in secondary school Morin , ways of cooperating with children in residential homes Pedersen , rehabilitation in everyday life after a stroke Borg , the impact of psychotherapy and family counselling on the everyday lives in families Dreier in prep.
Critical work in an established pedagogical psychological practice. Rasmussen have carried out cooperative practice research projects related to child development with various groups of professionals. This opens up for understanding problems in the light of social conflicts related to learning and development among children, and it points to the need of developing collaboration among the involved adults and to focus their contributions on assisting children's participation in social communities.
Further, Rasmussen has carried out a practice research project interviewing psychologists from two different communities of practice and reflecting on interviews with the psychologists. This work shows that psychologists do not primarily think in context-free concepts and diagnoses, but rather in categories anchored in practice. The creativity and action potence of the psychologists is grounded in these categories developed in the concrete communities of practice.
Critical work on the border of established social practices. In this work attention has been directed at both practice and ideology. As part of the joint ventures we have highlighted the more responsible and involved positions of the wild youngsters. This includes analysing participant trajectories from participating mainly as users, to participating as persons responsible for activities and as persons helping other youths Nissen These kinds of objectivations mirror aspects of the practices within the actual social work communities. But over the years it has become increasingly difficult to develop communities with multiple and to varying degrees responsible positions for the youngsters.
Some general aspects of practice research in the Danish context. Critical psychological practice research involves participation in practice, observing, interviewing, doing consultation work and supervising, giving talks, and cooperating with practitioners in various ways. Practice research is practice oriented in its attempt at understanding human problems and expanding action possibilities.
Such attempts include a critique of specific societal conditions when analysing possibilities and limitations within practice, and it includes practice oriented critique that explicates actual possibilities, for example, by constructing new prototypes  including action possibilities of relevance within the researched practice and related contexts.
In some of the above-mentioned research projects practice research is carried out as concretely collaborative and development oriented. In these instances practice researchers and co-researchers actively meet and discuss the research design, methods, content, goals and temporary results. Sometimes researchers and co-researchers apply for funds together and sometimes they even write academic or other texts together. Sometimes they even change positions — researchers becoming practitioners and co-researchers becoming researchers within universities. In long-standing joint ventures co-researchers are involved continuously and take part in shaping and making decisions throughout the research process.
Often we join around common interests and emancipatory goals of expanding the possibilities of actions for marginalised groups and contributing to a more complex picture of human resources under various conditions. In some practice research projects the practice orientation is reflected in the initial concern with analysing particular aspects of human life and practice, in order to communicate insights and gain access to contexts deemed important for the problems a hand. These contexts may be political, scientific, or professional.
Highlighting theoretical understandings of what is at stake in the researched fields, along with inherent contradictions, possibilities and limitations, the goal is equally to participate in the expansion of possibilities in concrete practice, but sometimes by pointing to necessary changes elsewhere. In any event, practice research is a way of practicing research that is characterised by active involvement with practice, becoming part of the often contentious field being researched, positioning oneself and seeking out opportunities to participate in moving along practice while working on the development of theory alongside.
The insistence on a practice orientation as a way of doing practice research may explain the multiple theoretical developments within critical psychology in the Danish context. Critical psychological theorising in this small part of the world has taken several directions related to the fields that are researched, the issues involved and the possibilities for cooperating with practitioners and being part of research networks . The more practice oriented and diverse way of integrating and developing concepts, internal connections and understandings into the critical psychological framework is characteristic of the work of most critical psychologists in the Danish context.
We are hard pressed to think of any colleagues in Denmark who do not work with the aim of contributing to theoretical development, analytical tools and action possibilities, which are relevant to the researched practices and meet the theoretical demands of consistency, cogency and precision. In our perspective, the practice orientation in the Danish context and the diversity of theory building expands possibilities for theorising that are practically relevant.
But cooperation around collective building of theoretical frameworks would then seem necessary in order to address the danger of critical psychology in the Danish context developing into particular versions with no common theoretical framework. Fragmentation rather than the joining of forces in theory building is furthered by the conditions of busy academics in a competitive international scientific community, making the issue worthy of serious consideration.
In this article we have unfolded some of the different standpoints and positions within critical psychology in the Danish context by giving examples of theoretical and methodological developments based primarily on German critical psychology, but also on the integration of other theories such as social practice theory, poststructuralism and social constructionism.
Some of the research projects that we address were carried out as distinctly collaborative and development oriented, e. Other projects were initially concerned with analysing and developing an understanding of complex practices with the aim of engaging in further development of theoretical frameworks and methods of particular relevance to the practices studied. Despite differences in whether and how co-researchers are actively engaged, all of the research projects that we draw on in this article aim at developing both theory and practice.
This dual goal of critical psychological practice research is mirrored in various ways of positioning oneself and in various activities more or less closely related to theoretical, methodological and practical developments at various times. We also note that ways of participating as a researcher are related to changing researcher trajectories within and outside of academia, and to changes in researcher interests and goals. As part of these historical changes there has been an emerging recognition of researchers as well as co-researchers being part of the dominating, sometimes suppressive discourse.
All being part of the same society, we cannot totally escape the suppressing discourses. From this changed positioning, critical psychology in the Danish context tends to research how we are part of it dominating discourses, analysing problems and possibilities from various first position perspectives - including our own as practice researchers — trying to break with marginalising discourses, and engaging in developing alternatives in both theory and practice. Axel, E. Regulation as Productive Tool use.
Roskilde University Press. Bader, K. Viel Frust und wenig Hilfe , bd. Bechmann Jensen, T. Criticisms of mainstream psychology consistent with current critical psychology usage have existed since psychology's modern development in the late 19th century. The German branch of critical psychology predates and has developed largely separately from the rest of the field. As of May , only a few works have been translated into English. Marx 's Critique of Political Economy played an important role in the German branch of the student revolt, which was centered in Berlin.
Then Berlin was a capitalist city surrounded by communist-ruled East Germany , represented a "hot spot" of political and ideological controversy for the revolutionary German students. The sociological foundations of critical psychology are decidedly Marxist. One of the most important and sophisticated books in the field is the Grundlegung der Psychologie  Foundations of Psychology by Klaus Holzkamp , who might be considered the theoretical founder of critical psychology.
Holzkamp, who had written two books on theory of science  and one on sensory perception  before publishing the Grundlegung der Psychologie in , thought this major work provided a solid paradigm for psychological research, as he viewed psychology as a pre-paradigmatic scientific discipline T. Kuhn had used the term "pre-paradigmatic" for social science.
Holzkamp mostly based his sophisticated attempt to provide a comprehensive and integrated set of categories defining the field of psychological research on Aleksey Leontyev 's approach to cultural—historical psychology and activity theory. Leontyev had seen human action as a result of biological as well as cultural evolution and, drawing on Marx's materialist conception of culture, stressed that individual cognition is always part of social action which in turn is mediated by man-made tools cultural artifacts , language and other man-made systems of symbols, which he viewed as a major distinguishing feature of human culture and, thus, human cognition.
At the same time, the Grundlegung systematically integrated previous specialized work done at Free University of Berlin in the '70s by critical psychologists who also had been influenced by Marx, Leontyev and Seve. One core result of Holzkamp's historical and comparative analysis of human reproductive action, perception and cognition is a very specific concept of meaning that identifies symbolic meaning as historically and culturally constructed, purposeful conceptual structures that humans create in close relationship to material culture and within the context of historically specific formations of social reproduction.
Coming from this phenomenological perspective on culturally mediated and socially situated action, Holzkamp launched a devastating and original methodological attack on behaviorism which he termed S—R stimulus—response psychology based on linguistic analysis, showing in minute detail the rhetorical patterns by which this approach to psychology creates the illusion of "scientific objectivity" while at the same time losing relevance for understanding culturally situated, intentional human actions.
His last major publication before his death in was about learning. One important concept Holzkamp developed was "reinterpretation" of theories developed by conventional psychology. This meant to look at these concepts from the standpoint of the paradigm of critical psychology, thereby integrating their useful insights into critical psychology while at the same time identifying and criticizing their limiting implications, which in the case of S—R psychology were the rhetorical elimination of the subject and intentional action, and in the case of cognitive psychology which did take into account subjective motives and intentional actions, methodological individualism.
The conceptions of learning he found most useful in his own detailed analysis of "classroom learning" came from cognitive anthropologists Jean Lave situated learning and Edwin Hutchins distributed cognition.
Welche Kundenorientierung? In chapters 11 through to 14, colleagues will look at key societal drivers of future change, such as the This page was last edited on 18 April , at Published by Echter Verlag GmbH. Development potentials are outlined.
The book's second part contained an extensive analysis on the modern state's institutionalized forms of "classroom learning" as the cultural—historical context that shapes much of modern learning and socialization. In this analysis, he heavily drew upon Michel Foucault 's Discipline and Punish. Holzkamp felt that classroom learning as the historically specific form of learning does not make full use of student's potentials, but rather limits her or his learning potentials by a number of "teaching strategies.
Consequently, in the last section of the book, Holzkamp discusses forms of "expansive learning" that seem to avoid the limitations of classroom learning, such as apprenticeship and learning in contexts other than classrooms. This search culminated in plans to write a major work on life leadership in the specific historical context of modern capitalist society. Due to his death in , this work never got past the stage of early and premature conceptualizations, some of which were published in the journals Forum Kritische Psychologie and Argument.
In the s and s the term radical psychology was used by psychologists to denote a branch of the field which rejected conventional psychology's focus on the individual as the basic unit of analysis and sole source of psychopathology.
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Instead, radical psychologists examined the role of society in causing and treating problems and looked towards social change as an alternative to therapy to treat mental illness and as a means of preventing psychopathology. Within psychiatry the term anti-psychiatry was often used and now British activists prefer the term critical psychiatry. Critical psychology is currently the preferred term for the discipline of psychology keen to find alternatives to the way the discipline of psychology reduces human experience to the level of the individual and thereby strips away possibilities for radical social change.
Starting in the s a new wave of books started to appear on critical psychology, the most influential being the edited book Critical Psychology by Dennis Fox and Isaac Prilleltensky. Various introductory texts to critical psychology written in the United Kingdom have tended to focus on discourse, but this has been seen by some proponents of critical psychology as a reduction of human experience to language which is as politically dangerous as the way mainstream psychology reduces experience to the individual mind.
Attention to language and ideological processes, others would argue, is essential to effective critical psychology - it is not simply a matter of applying mainstream psychological concepts to issues of social change. This manifesto argues that critical psychology should include the following four components:. There are a few international journals devoted to critical psychology, including the no longer published International Journal of Critical Psychology continued in the journal Subjectivity and the Annual Review of Critical Psychology. The journals still tend to be directed to an academic audience, though the Annual Review of Critical Psychology runs as an open-access online journal.
There are close links between critical psychologists and critical psychiatrists in Britain through the Asylum Collective. David Smai l was one of the founders of The Midlands Psychology Group, a critical psychology collective who produced a manifesto for a social materialist psychology of distress.
Like many critical applications, critical psychology has expanded beyond Marxist and feminist roots to benefit from other critical approaches. Consider ecopsychology and transpersonal psychology. Critical psychology and related work has also sometimes been labelled radical psychology and liberation psychology.