The article discusses the role that conceptualisations of child ‘imperfection’ played in the rise and fall of Russian ‘child study’ between the 1900s and the 1930s. Drawing on Georges Canguilhem’s ideas on ‘the normal’ and ‘the pathological’, the article analyses practices centred on diagnosing subnormality and pathology in the Russian child population in the late tsarist and early Soviet eras. It first examines mutually competing normative regimes that framed categorisations of ‘imperfection’ among Russia’s children in the context of the empire’s accelerated, yet ambivalent modernisation during the 1900s–1910s. It then charts the expansion of this diagnostics in the first decade or so of the Soviet regime, following its shift in focus from the early-1920s’ ‘delinquent child’ to the late-1920s’ ‘mass child’. The article concludes with a discussion of the emergence, over this same period, of the Russian field of medicalised special education known as ‘defectology’. It argues that defectology’s disciplinary specificity crystallised in 1936 around a purposely restrictive concept of ‘imperfection’, understood as individualised and clinically established pathological ‘impairment’. The latter conceptualisation became fixed at the height of Stalinism as a strategic counter to the expansive flux in which the diagnostics and conceptualisation of child ‘imperfection’ had otherwise been over the first three decades of the twentieth century in the context of the remarkable rise of child study during this period.
The August 2016 issue of History of Psychology is now available. Articles in this special issue, guest edited by Adrian Brock, revisit the issues raised by Kurt Danziger in his 1994 article “Does the History of Psychology Have a Future?” Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“The future of the history of psychology revisited,” by Adrian C. Brock. The abstract reads,
In 1994, Kurt Danziger published an article in Theory & Psychology with the title, “Does the history of psychology have a future?” The article attracted a great deal of controversy and is now listed on the journal’s website as one of the most cited articles in its history. After providing a synopsis of Danziger’s article, I discuss some of the issues that emerged from the controversy that followed its publication. I also ask whether the position of the history of psychology has changed in the intervening years. We are already in the future that Danziger discussed, even if it is only the near future, and the situation may look different from here. After pointing out that Danziger himself has changed his views on this subject, I suggest that it does look different. The editorial ends with an introduction to the articles in the special issue and some reflections on the importance of understanding the context in which historians of psychology work.
The February 2011 issue of History of Psychology, the official journal of the Society for the History of Psychology (Division 26 of the American Psychological Association), has just been released online. Included in this issue are article on the use of the term “socialization,” psychology and pedagogy in late-nineteenth century French medicine, the historical experience of trauma, and a look at the use of unique historical sources in describing the academic freedom controversy surrounding James McKeen Cattell’s departure from Columbia University. Also in this issue, is a note challenging the recent proposal that John Watson and Rosalie Raynor’s research subject Little Albert was in fact Douglas Merritte, the son of a wet nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“The evolving vocabulary of the social sciences: The case of ‘socialization’,” by Jill G. Morawski and Jenna St. Martin. The abstract reads,
While the term “socialization” stands as a common and clearly understood term regularly used in social science and lay conversations alike, its history is complex. In the 19th century, socialization was introduced to refer to societal activities or projects, and only in the early 20th century did it gain usage as a term describing psychological processes transpiring within the individual. The architecture of the newer meaning harbored ambitions and problems of modern social science, including ideals of interdisciplinary theory and theoretic resolution of the individual/society dualism. Nevertheless, socialization became a central object of social scientific inquiry after World War II. This significant social scientific object was repeatedly altered: initially representing a vision of conforming citizens who were free from certain troubling characteristics depicted in psychoanalysis and well-suited to democracy, it later was engaged to create a vision of autonomous, resilient, and cognitively active actors able to negotiate a complex social world. Continue reading New Issue: History of Psychology→