Tag Archives: history of the human sciences

The Making of Burnout: From Social Change to Self-Awareness in the Postwar United States, 1970–82

Forthcoming from History of the Human Sciences – and now available online – is a piece from Matthew Hoffrath (right) on the history of the concept of burnout. Full details below.

“The making of burnout: From social change to self-awareness in the postwar United States, 1970–82,” by Matthew J. Hoffarth. Abstract:

The concept of burnout has become ubiquitous in contemporary discussions of work stress in the post-industrial, service economy. However, it originated outside of the market, in the counter-cultural human service institutions of the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City. This article explores the first decade of the development of the burnout concept, demonstrating how it represented a reaction against the counter-culture and the alternative institutions that emerged alongside it. Focused in particular on the work of psychoanalyst Herbert Freudenberger and social psychologist Christina Maslach, this article demonstrates how the burnout phenomenon inspired professional helpers to engage in self-care and reduce their commitment to clients. As burnout migrated from the human services into the broader business environment in the early 1980s, the dedication to social change through helping others would largely vanish, to be replaced by the idea that the best way to ‘serve’ customers and co-workers was by practising self-awareness and self-management.

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New Book! Constructing Pain: Historical, Psychological and Critical Perspectives

Now available from Routledge is Robert Kugelmann’s Constructing Pain: Historical, Psychological and Critical Perspectives. As described on the publisher’s website,

Everyone experiences pain, whether it’s emotional or physical, chronic or acute. Pain is part of what it means to be human, and so an understanding of how we relate to it as individuals – as well as cultures and societies – is fundamental to who we are.

In this important new book, the first in Routledge’s new Critical Approaches to Health series, Robert Kugelmann provides an accessible and insightful overview of how the concept of pain has been understood historically, psychologically, and anthropologically. Charting changes in how, after the development of modern painkillers, pain became a problem that could be solved, the book articulates how the possibilities for living with pain have changed over the last two hundred years.

Incorporating research conducted by the author himself, the book provides both a holistic conception of pain and an understanding of what it means to people experiencing it today. Including critical reflections in each chapter, Constructing Pain offers a comprehensive and enlightening treatment of an important issue to us all and will be fascinating reading for students and researchers within health psychology, healthcare, and nursing.

The volume was recently reviewed as part of History of the Human Sciencesbook reviews initiative.

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HHS Special Issue: Psychotherapy in Historical Perspective

Sarah Marks

The April 2017 issue of History of the Human Sciences is now online. Guest edited by Sarah Marks, this special issue explores “Psychotherapy in Historical Perspective.” Titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Psychotherapy in historical perspective,” by Sarah Marks. Abstract:

This article will briefly explore some of the ways in which the past has been used as a means to talk about psychotherapy as a practice and as a profession, its impact on individuals and society, and the ethical debates at stake. It will show how, despite the multiple and competing claims about psychotherapy’s history and its meanings, historians themselves have, to a large degree, not attended to the intellectual and cultural development of many therapeutic approaches. This absence has the potential consequence of implying that therapies have emerged as value-free techniques, outside of a social, economic and political context. The relative neglect of psychotherapy, by contrast with the attention historians have paid to other professions, particularly psychiatry, has also underplayed its societal impact. This article will foreground some of the instances where psychotherapy has become an object of emerging historical interest, including the new research that forms the substance of this special issue of History of the Human Sciences.

“The action of the imagination: Daniel Hack Tuke and late Victorian psycho-therapeutics,” by Sarah Chaney. Abstract:

Histories of dynamic psychotherapy in the late 19th century have focused on practitioners in continental Europe, and interest in psychological therapies within British asylum psychiatry has been largely overlooked. Yet Daniel Hack Tuke (1827–95) is acknowledged as one of the earliest authors to use the term ‘psycho-therapeutics’, including a chapter on the topic in his 1872 volume, Illustrations of the Influence of the Mind upon the Body in Health and Disease. But what did Tuke mean by this concept, and what impact did his ideas have on the practice of asylum psychiatry? At present, there is little consensus on this topic. Through in-depth examination of what psycho-therapeutics meant to Tuke, this article argues that late-19th-century asylum psychiatry cannot be easily separated into somatic and psychological strands. Tuke’s understanding of psycho-therapeutics was extremely broad, encompassing the entire field of medical practice (not only psychiatry). The universal force that he adopted to explain psychological therapies, ‘the Imagination’, was purported to show the power of the mind over the body, implying that techniques like hypnotism and suggestion might have an effect on any kind of symptom or illness. Acknowledging this aspect of Tuke’s work, I conclude, can help us better understand late-19th-century psychiatry – and medicine more generally – by acknowledging the lack of distinction between psychological and somatic in ‘psychological’ therapies.

“‘Subordination, authority, psychotherapy’: Psychotherapy and politics in inter-war Vienna,” by David Freis. Abstract: Continue reading HHS Special Issue: Psychotherapy in Historical Perspective

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Call for Submissions: Early Career Researchers on “Thinking in Cases”

The editors of History of the Human Sciences have issued a call for submissions from early career researchers wishing to engage with John Forrester’s work “Thinking in Cases.” Short expressions of interest are due March 13th, 2017. Full details of the call for submissions follow below.

As part of our celebration of the work of the incomparable John Forrester, History of the Human Sciences (HHS) is hosting a review symposium around John’s final work: Thinking in Cases (Polity: 2017). The first essay in this collection ‘If p, then what? Thinking in cases’ was originally published in HHS back in 1996: (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/095269519600900301)

As part of our efforts to showcase the work of new and emerging scholars, HHS invites expressions of interest from all early career researchers (a flexible definition) whose work bears in some way upon the work John started with ‘Thinking in Cases’. We welcome anyone who would like to contribute to such a dialogue with John’s work, and with each other.

If interested, please send a short expression of interest (max 200 words) to the email address below, outlining your strengths as candidate for inclusion in such a review symposium. Depending upon response, we anticipate final contributions of c.3,000 words.

Deadlines:

– Expressions of Interest: Monday 13th March, 2017.

– Submission of Contributions: 31st October, 2017.

– Publication in HHS: 2018.

If you have questions, please email Chris Millard: c[dot]millard[at]Sheffield[dot]ac[dot]uk

We look forward to hearing from you,

Felicity Callard (Editor-in-Chief) & Chris Millard (Reviews Editor)

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Full Talks from “The Future of the History of the Human Sciences”

A number of audio recordings from the two day event “The Future of the History of the Human Sciences” held in April 2016 are now available online. The event was held to mark the passing of the editorship of History of the Human Sciences from James Good to Felicity Callard and had as its aim a consideration of the “changes wrought in the broad interdisciplinary field of the history of the human sciences by new developments in the medical humanities, biological sciences, and literary/cultural theory.” Among the talks available online are ones delivered by Roger Smith, Peter Mandler, and Steve Fuller. As History of the Human Sciences reports,

Thanks to the kind permission of many of those who took part, we can now also make available recordings of a number of the talks. Abstracts for each talk can be found here.

• Roger Smith, “Resisting Neurosciences and Sustaining History”

• Steve Fuller, “Kuhn’s Curse and the Crisis of the Human”

• Des Fitzgerald, “The commotion of the social”

• Maurizio Meloni, “The Social as the Non-Biological: Genealogy and Perspectives”

• Jessica Hendy, “Molecular Archives of Human History: Moving Beyond Text-Based Sources”

• Michael A. Finn, “Possibilities and Problems with the Growing Archive”

• Peter Mandler, “The Language of Social Science in Everyday Life: What it Does, How it Circulates, How to Track it”

• Amanda Rees “Biocultural Evolution Then and Now: The Brain in Environmental Context OR Counterfactualising the History of Biology and Sociology”

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In History of the Human Sciences: The second synthesis of Ronald Fisher

Maurizio Esposito (University of Santiago) has a piece out in the History of the Human Sciences titled “From human science to biology: The second synthesis of Ronald Fisher.”

Fisher_3The abstract reads as follows:

Scholars have paid great attention to the neo-Darwinism of Ronald Fisher. He was one of the founding fathers of the modern synthesis and, not surprisingly, his writings and life have been widely scrutinized. However, less attention has been paid to his interests in the human sciences. In assessing Fisher’s uses of the human sciences in his seminal book the “Genetical Theory of Natural Selection” and elsewhere, the article shows how Fisher’s evolutionary thought was essentially eclectic when applied to the human context. In order to understand how evolution works among humans, Fisher made himself also a sociologist and historian. More than a eugenically minded Darwinist, Fisher was also a sophisticated scholar combining many disciplines without the ambition to reduce, simplistically, the human sciences to biology.

Find the full work here.

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April 2016: “The Future of the History of the Human Sciences”

To mark the end of James Good‘s time as editor of History of the Human Sciences a special two-day meeting on “The Future of the History of the Human Sciences” is planned for April 7th and 8th, 2016. The meeting, hosted jointly by Chris Renwick and History of the Human Scienceswill take place at the University of York and feature as speakers: Roger Smith, Steve Fuller, Peter Mandler, Marianne Sommer, Amanda Rees, Michael Finn, Elizabeth Toon, Jessica Hendy, Maurizio Meloni, Des Fitzgerald, Alexandra Bacopoulos Viau, and Jonna Brenninkmeijer. Full details about the meeting, including (free) registration and postgraduate bursary information, follow below.

The Future of the History of the Human Sciences
University of York
Thursday 7th & Friday 8th April 2016

This two-day meeting, hosted jointly by Dr Chris Renwick and History of the Human Sciences, gathers together established scholars and early-career researchers to consider changes wrought in the broad interdisciplinary field of the history of the human sciences by new developments in the medical humanities, biological sciences, and literary/cultural theory. Marking the end of James Good’s 15-year tenure as HHS editor and the beginning of a new editorial team, comprising Dr Felicity Callard, Dr Rhodri Hayward, and Dr Angus Nicholls, the meeting will survey the field’s development since the foundation of HHS almost 20 years ago, and offer provocations – from various disciplinary perspectives – about the directions that it might take in the future.

Speakers include Roger Smith, Steve Fuller, Peter Mandler, Marianne Sommer, Amanda Rees, Michael Finn, Elizabeth Toon, Jessica Hendy, Maurizio Meloni, Des Fitzgerald, Alexandra Bacopoulos Viau, and Jonna Brenninkmeijer.

There will be four intensive sessions:

  1. The Problem of the Archive: biological data, digital media, material culture, and their impact upon the archive and human nature;
  2. The Problem of the Human: how the neurosciences are challenging conventional approaches to history;
  3. The Problem of the Social: How do models of ‘the social’ in the life sciences challenge those in the social sciences and humanities?
  4. Practice in the Human Sciences: new methods and approaches in medical humanities and science studies.

These sessions will be followed by a roundtable in which the outgoing and incoming History of the Human Sciences editors, plus speakers from the conference, discuss the state of the field and its future. Continue reading April 2016: “The Future of the History of the Human Sciences”

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New HHS: Sleep Laboratories, Psychiatry in Penguin Books, & More

The October 2015 issue of History of the Human Sciences is now online. Articles in this issue explore participant observation in a sleep laboratory (right), publications on psychiatric topics in Penguin Books, and social scientific representations of consumer debt. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“On a not so chance encounter of neurophilosophy and science studies in a sleep laboratory,” by Nicolas Langlitz. The abstract reads,

This article was inspired by participant observation of a contemporary collaboration between empirically oriented philosophers of mind and neuroscientists. An encounter between this anthropologist of science and neurophilosophers in a Finnish sleep laboratory led to the following philosophical exploration of the intellectual space shared by neurophilosophy and science studies. Since these fields emerged in the 1970s, scholars from both sides have been visiting brain research facilities, but engaged with neuroscientists very differently and passionately fought with each other over the reduction of mind to brain. As a case in point, this article looks at the philosophical controversy over the dreaming brain. It serves as a window on the problem space opened up by the demise of positivist conceptions of science, now inhabited by both neurophilosophy and science studies. Both fields face the problem of how to bridge the gap between empirical research and conceptual work. At a time when ontological speculation has made a comeback in these areas of research, studies on how epistemic objects manifest themselves in the material culture of neuroscience could help neurophilosophers to become better materialists. In the sleep laboratory, however, the materiality of dreams continues to be elusive. In dreaming science studies and neurophilosophy encounter a phenomenon that – at least in 2015 – still invites a positivist rather than a materialist attitude.

“Debt, consumption and freedom: Social scientific representations of consumer credit in Anglo-America,” by Donncha Marron. The abstract reads, Continue reading New HHS: Sleep Laboratories, Psychiatry in Penguin Books, & More

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CfP: Special Issue of HoP on History of Psychotherapy in North and South America

A call for papers has been issued for a special issue of History of Psychology on the history of psychotherapy in North and South America. Guest edited by Rachael Rosner, the issue will be released in parallel with a special issue of History of the Human Sciences on the history psychotherapy in Europe (guest edited by Sarah Marks). The deadline for submissions is January 1st, 2016. The full call for papers follows below.

The history of psychotherapy is a topic that cuts across disciplines and cultures. In North America, psychotherapy pre-dates Freud in the faith healing and liberal protestant movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century, even as Freud took the limelight, the practice passed through many professions including neuropathology, psychiatry, social work, the ministry and clinical psychology, as well as marriage and family counseling, nursing, and a host of others. Psychotherapy also became the darling of cinema and literature. And yet, psychotherapy has never been a licensed profession. Anyone can hang out a shingle as a “psychotherapist.” Psychotherapy has thus been both a staple of, and a lens onto, medicine, science and culture for nearly 125 years.

How can we make sense of this ubiquitous and yet historically elusive practice? This special issue of HOP opens up the conversation to historians from a broad spectrum of specialties. We welcome contributions on any aspect of the subject in North or South America, but ask contributors to keep within the time-frame of late 19th century (when the term “psychotherapy” originated) to the present. Continue reading CfP: Special Issue of HoP on History of Psychotherapy in North and South America

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New HHS: Mark May at the Institute of Human Relations, Neurofeedback & Selfhood, & More!

The July 2015 issue of History of the Human Sciences is now online. Among the articles in this issue are one’s on Durkheim’s followers, psychologist Mark May’s influence on the Institute of Human Relations at Yale University, and the relationship between neurofeedback and the self. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“On equal temperament: Tuning, modernity and compromise,” by Michael Halewood. The abstract reads,

In this article, I use Stengers’ (2010) concepts of ‘factish’, ‘requirements’ and ‘obligations’, as well as Latour’s (1993) critique of modernity, to interrogate the rise of Equal Temperament as the dominant system of tuning for western music. I argue that Equal Temperament is founded on an unacknowledged compromise which undermines its claims to rationality and universality. This compromise rests on the standardization which is the hallmark of the tuning system of Equal Temperament, and, in this way, it is emblematic of Latour’s definition of modernity. I further argue that the problem of the tuning of musical instruments is one which epitomizes the modern distinction between the natural and the social. In turn, this bears witness to what Whitehead calls the ‘bifurcation of nature’. Throughout this article, using the work of Stengers and Latour, I seek to use tuning as a case study which allows social research to talk both of the natural and of the social aspects of music and tuning, without recourse to essentialism or simple social construction. In this way, my argument seeks to avoid bifurcating nature.

“Young Durkheimians and the temptation of fascism: The case of Marcel Déat,” by Mathieu Hikaru Desan and Johan Heilbron. The abstract reads, Continue reading New HHS: Mark May at the Institute of Human Relations, Neurofeedback & Selfhood, & More!

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