The New History of Psychology: Some (Different) Answers to Lovett’s Five Questions

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Abstract

The professionalization of the history of psychology from the 1960s led to significant changes in the way that history was written. Several authors tried to summarize these changes in the 1980s, and Laurel Furumoto’s (1989) G. Stanley Hall lecture, “The new history of psychology” is the best-known example of this genre. This journal published a critique of the new history by Benjamin R. Lovett (2006) with the title, “The new history of psychology: A review and critique,” and it is still being cited as an authoritative source. The article consists of 3 parts. First, the author attempts to show that the new history is not as different from the old as its proponents claim. He then discusses some problems that he considers to be unique to the new history, and he presents them in the form of 5 questions for the new historians, which he then goes on to answer himself. Finally, he discusses the problematic relationship between critical history and psychology. This article is a reply to Lovett’s article. The author argues that the new history is different from the old in every way that Lovett claims that it is not. It critically analyzes Lovett’s answers to his own 5 questions and offers some alternative answers to these questions. It also suggests that many psychologist-historians are opposed to new history of psychology, especially in its critical versions, and that this explains why Lovett’s article has been uncritically received.

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