Researchers from York’s own Psychology’s Feminist Voices, Alexandra Rutherford, Kelli Vaughn-Johnson, and Elissa Rodkey have put out an engaging piece in BPS’s June 2015 issue of The Psychologist. It’s a brief yet compelling survey of the various ways that both the discipline and its subject matter have been gendered, and of the historiographic efforts that have elucidated these perspectives and processes. It’s also a call to action for further corrective historical narratives of this ilk:
To write such a history is a daunting task. Why should we undertake it? Gender analysis offers some particularly rich historiographic potential for psychology as a science that is not only gendered on multiple levels but also directly produces scientific knowledge about gender itself. It is a powerful contributor to – as much as it draws upon – the ‘beliefs about gender’ that affect everyday experience and how we understand each other and ourselves. This deeply reflexive nature of psychology has been extensively discussed by historians (see Smith, 2005). Gender is one of the primary axes of self-understanding and social and political organisation – including that of science. Thus, examining how the gendering of psychology has influenced its knowledge-generation about gender can help us begin to disentangle the science/gender system in new ways. Finally, by bringing close historical scrutiny to the ways that gender ideologies run in and through psychology, we can start to destabilise – and perhaps even change – them today.
Find the full article here.