Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences is now online. Included in this issue are a number of new articles that range from the difficulty in classifying postpartum depression, the mental hygiene in socialist Mexico, and even a digital analysis of the Psychological Review. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“A Tricky Object to Classify: Evidence, Postpartum Depression and the DSM-IV,” by Rebecca Godderis. The abstract reads:
The concept of evidence has become central in Western healthcare systems; however, few investigations have studied how the shift toward specific definitions of evidence actually occurred in practice. This paper examines a historical case in psychiatry where the debate about how to define evidence was of central importance to nosological decision making. During the fourth revision of the Diagnostic andStatistical Manual of Mental Disorders a controversial decision was made to exclude postpartum depression (PPD) as a distinct disorder from the manual. On the basis of archival and interview data, I argue that the fundamental issues driving this decision were related to questions about what constituted suitable hierarchies of evidence and appropriate definitions of evidence. Further, although potentially buttressed by the evidence-based medicine movement, this shift toward a reliance on particular kinds of empirical evidence occurred when the dominant paradigm in American psychiatry changed from a psychodynamic approach to a research-based medical model.
“’Dictating the Suitable Way of Life’: Mental Hygiene for Children and Workers in Socialist Mexico,” by Andrés Ríos Molina. The abstract reads:
After the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920), an ambitious project of national reconstruction began in which education and health were two priorities in the consolidation of a new nation. In this context of social, cultural, and political transformation, mental hygiene was a field that made it possible to articulate the professional practice of psychiatrists with the project of the nation promoted by postrevolutionary governments. In Mexico, the mental hygiene movement was headed by the same doctors who professionalized the practice of psychiatry and made it a specialized field of knowledge. The first generation of psychiatrists managed to integrate mental hygiene into health and education policies during the socialist administration of president Lázaro Cárdenas; a phenomenon that made evident the articulation between mental hygiene, social medicine, and nationalist discourse. Discussion will focus on proposals made from the perspective of mental hygiene as a function of two social sectors regarded as priorities by the Cárdenas government: children and workers.
“Beyond the Schools of Psychology 1: A Digital Analysis of Psychological Review, 1894–1903,” by Christopher D. Green, Ingo Feinerer and Jeremy T. Burman. The abstract reads:
Traditionally, American psychology at the turn of the twentieth century has been framed as a competition among a number of “schools”: structuralism, functionalism, behaviorism, etc. But this is only one way in which the “structure” of the discipline can be conceived. Most psychologists did not belong to a particular school, but they still worked within loose intellectual communities, and so their work was part of an implicit psychological “genre,” if not a formalized “school.” In this study, we began the process of discovering the underlying genres of American psychology at the turn of the twentieth century by taking the complete corpus of articles from the journal Psychological Review during the first decade of its publication and conducting a statistical analysis of the vocabularies they employed to see what clusters of articles naturally emerged. Although the traditional functionalist school was among the clusters we found, we also found distinct research traditions around the topics of color vision, spatial vision, philosophy/metatheory, and emotion. In addition, momentary clusters corresponding to important debates (e.g., the variability hypothesis) appeared during certain years, but not others.
“The Reconstitution of Political Theory: David Easton, Behavioralism, and the Long Road to System,” by John G. Gunnell. The abstract reads:
During the last half of the twentieth century, the concept of system was arguably the most important concept in the theoretical repertoire of the discipline of American political science. Although systems analysis was broadly employed in the behavioral sciences, David Easton’s work was particularly influential in the study of politics. This is in part because he attempted to develop a distinct account of the political system that was not theoretically subservient either to general systems theory or to conceptions of the social system such as that advanced by Talcott Parsons. Although a great deal of attention has been devoted to Easton’s theory, the origins and evolution of the system concept in his work have not been carefully reconstructed and analyzed.