Feminists and Psychological Practice by Professor Erica Burman

By Professor Erica Burman

Feminists and mental perform gives voice to the constructing feminist critique of the placement of girls inside of educational psychology. Drawing at the studies and views of scholars, lecturers, researchers and practitioners, it explores how psychology features to take care of strength constructions and practices which regularly exclude and oppress ladies.

The authors deal with the problems that face feminists who try and counter those constructions and practices, coming near near the subject from a variety of viewpoints reflecting various classification, cultural and political positions. They query feminist in addition to mainstream mental perform. They confront the crucial challenge over even if to paintings inside or outdoor `the system'. the results of the dialogue resonate some distance past the explicit context of the occupation of psychology.

The booklet comes at a serious time, whilst the altering panorama of future health and schooling places psychology less than expanding strain to turn out its efficacy and while ladies teachers and practitioners face the chance of operating inside of patriarchal administration more and more ruled by means of industry forces.

Feminists and mental perform will end up helpful to girls in academic, scientific and educational psychology around the world; it presents vital fabric for classes within the psychology of girls, the historical past and sociology of psychology, women's experiences and gender studies.

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More recently however, there has been a move back towards empiricism and large-scale data collection, reflecting the general political move towards conservatism. It seemed then as if psychology (social psychology in my case) was still trying to prove itself as a scientific discipline. I was awash in a sea of numbers, the actual statistical analysis of which I was probably more technically competent at doing than my supervisor (who had returned from sabbatical), from which I could not see any meaningful escape.

You may laugh at the very idea that menstruation could be the subject of serious study, as many have since, but this was a milestone in my career. At last psychology had something to say that seemed to be of relevance and importance, something which was of even greater interest than my burgeoning social life. Further examination of the literature convinced me that psychology could be both legitimate (in terms of being published in ‘eminent’ journals) and of direct relevance to women’s experiences.

I started this account wondering if I was expecting too much of psychology. My personal history traces a path undertaken to find out how the application of knowledge, particularly scientific knowledge, affects women’s lives. Psychology, which covers how we think, learn, relate to each other and understand ourselves, should be in a good position to provide some answers, but failed to grapple with the relevant questions. So were my expectations unreasonable, or is [46] psychology, as presently taught and practised, really unsympathetic to women and women-oriented work?

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