Social Psychology in the 21st Century: Movements, Developments, Changes Building a new psychology Professor Wendy Stainton Rogers
Mainstream quantitative social psychology The new social psychology Critical social psychology
Critical psychology’s criticisms of mainstream psychology • Logic of enquiry (positivism) • Methods (quantitative) • Consevatism (in support of traditional power structures) • Prejudices (such as sexism) • Propping up injustices (such as treating social class as a ‘variable’)
From Natural science approaches to explain cause and effect An exclusivepsychology that assumes white, western men are the norm Servicing the establishment To Interpretative approaches to gain understanding and insight An inclusive psychology that recognises diversity as the norm Benefit people and improve social justice The new social psychology
The cycle of change Early psychology Mainstream psychology The new psychology Many methods Exploratory Real life Social justice Experimental Method Hypothesis testing Abstract Apolitical Many methods Exploratory Real life Social justice
Methodological diversity • Ethnography • Community Psychology • Participatory Action Research • Memory Work • Internet-based research • Visual methods
Diversity of analysis • Ethnological • Discourse • Conversational • Narrative • Grounded Theory • Phenomenological • Computer aided
Exploration • Zimbardo’s prison study • Sherif’s summer camp study of groups • Telling stories,role play • Exploring the internet – blogs, social spaces and virtual worlds
Real life – understanding • Authoritarianism • Obedience to authority • Changing heath-related behavior • Reducing anti-social behaviour
Social Justice • Racism • Feminist psychology • Reducing health inequalities • Empowering marginalised and oppressed groups • Postcolonial psychology
Mainstream psychology Attitudes Behaviour
The discursive alternative Identity is enacted through action so of course I smoke I’m a rebel
Identity 1 – Saint or sinner? In the Christian approach, a person often communicates with God inside, but also with … I know it sounds absurd… with the Satan… in terms… there is often used the word temptation, but also seducing, which is actually the inner dialogue… where I am enticed to do something that is against my conscience…
But it’s hard to be a saint not a sinner You know, it’s like ‘don’t go there’ because it’s a slippery slope. You’ve been good all week and it’s Friday and you say “just one won’t hurt you”, but you know it’s a slippery slope, and before you know it, you can’t stand up.
So you avoid temptation … I have to say at first that my reaction is, when I feel any possibility of sexual seducing, which is not pleasant to me, I usually run away before something happens
Giving in to temptation is fun Having been brought up a Catholic, but now very much a lapsed Catholic, in Ireland, temptation was a word which was always thrown at you as a child either from the testament of the bible. (…) Temptation to me was a rather attractive alternative; it was a way of breaking the rules. That’s my association with temptation. It’s a way of rejecting certain parts of culture and breaking certain rules.
Identity 2: the clever chooser If you completely abstain from temptation (…) you are going to be a very unhappy and very boring person, because you haven’t done anything that you’re not supposed to do. (…) But the person who always gives into temptation has no idea of self-control and no idea of limits (…) [T]he aim of the game as far as I see it is to strike a balance between abstinence and giving into temptation.
What’s the temptation? You always grin. Temptation – you just know you shouldn’t be doing it, but the first thing that springs into my mind is you shouldn’t be doing this but it’s going to be so much fun.
New insights? • People are not stupid, they have a reason for their actions • Intervention must be consistent with identity aspirations • Behaviour change may mean a change of identity • Barriers to changing identity must be removed
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence NICE is the UK government sponsored body responsible for providing national guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.
Why we need the new psychology – messages to take away • The stakes are high – having an impact andgetting funding • Increasingly funding is awarded for practical outcomes • We need to show we can produce ‘evidence’ for evidence-based practice • Satisfaction comes from making a difference • Have courage and be adventurous • Do it your way!