From Psychological Science to the Psychological Humanities: Building a General Theory of Subjectivity

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Abstract

The development of psychology as a science and the struggle for scientific recognition has disrupted the need to interrogate the discipline and the profession from the perspective of the humanities, the arts, and the concept-driven social sciences. This article suggests that some of the humanities contribute significantly to an understanding of human subjectivity, arguably a core topic within psychology. The article outlines the relevance of the psychological humanities by reclaiming subjectivity as a core topic for general psychology that is grounded in theoretical reconstruction, integration, and advancement. The argument relies on a variety of disciplines to achieve a deeper understanding of subjectivity: Philosophy provides conceptual clarifications and guidelines for integrating research on subjectivity; history reconstructs the movement of subjectivity and its subdivisions; political and social theories debate the process of subjectification; indigenous, cultural, and postcolonial studies show that Western theories of subjectivity cannot be applied habitually to contexts outside of the center; the arts corroborate the idea that subjective imagination is core to the aesthetic project; and science and technology studies point to recent developments in genetic science and information technology, advances that necessitate the consideration of significant changes in subjectivity. The implications of the psychological humanities as an important, justifiable tradition in psychology and for a general theory of subjectivity are discussed.

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