Ideology and science: The story of Polish psychology in the communist period

AHP readers will be interested in a new article in History of the Human Sciences, “Ideology and science: The story of Polish psychology in the communist period” by Leszek Koczanowicz and Iwona Koczanowicz-Dehnel. Abstract:

This article presents a fragment of the history of psychology in Poland, discussing its development in the years 1945–56, which saw sweeping political and geographical transformations. In that maelstrom of history, psychology was particularly affected by the effects of geopolitical changes, which led to its symbolic ‘arrest’ in 1952, when psychological practice was prohibited and all psychology courses were abolished at universities. Amnesty was declared only in 1956, with the demise of the so-called Stalinist ‘cult of personality’ and the onset of a turbulent period when the crimes of the Stalinist era were prosecuted. We have adopted three time frames for our description and analysis of this dramatic period in the development of psychology in Poland. ‘The past’ is a story about the flourishing of Polish psychology before World War Two and the hopes for the discipline’s restoration after the war. ‘The present’, as the core of this narrative, represents the events of 1950–56. ‘The future’ refers to the period when Stalinist abuses were prosecuted during the Thaw, following the collapse of the Stalinist dictatorship, and the resurgence of Polish psychologists’ hopes for resurrecting their discipline. In all these periods, the narrative is interwoven with the story of the Polish psychologist Mieczys?aw Kreutz, who offers a model example of the hypothesized dependence of scientific research on sociopolitical change.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.