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Title: Psychology, politics and policies : theories of child and mother in the history of psychology in Britain
Author: Riley, E. M. D.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1980
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.The thesis argues that the relation between psychology and politics is a problem for marxist theory which cannot be answered by the supposition that psychology acts at the service of the state. Instead it claims the need, firstly, for a critical examination of the concept of the biological in both marxist theories and in the theories of developmental psychology. This is carried out in the first chapter. The theoretical difficulties of child peychoLc gi os l.rere"i~}:i:1historically in the second and third chapters, which discuss the nineteenth century formations of observational psychology and the impact of psychoanalysis in both Britain and America. It is argued that the concept of popularisation is inadequate to explain the coherence between particular social policy formations and psychologies. The work of John Bowlb,yand of British Kleinians is analysed as a case-study in this problem of coherence, and in the fourth chapter this psychological work is placed in the context of social policies on the family in wartime and postwar Britain. The general difficulty of posing an 'accord' between psychological and sociopolitical developments is illustrated with close reference to the history of governmental policies on childcare provision, and these policies are then situated with reference to the changing nature of the employment market for·women in immediately post-war Britain. The fifth chapter is an analysis of the mutual appeals of psychology to history for authority at this period; it examines the effects of pronatalism here. The ubi~uity of pronatalist discourse and the difficulties of pragmatic-materialist explanations for pOints of apparent social conservatism are both elaborated as necessary to the case-study of the problem of 'accord'. The sixth and final chapter of the thesis returns to the general problems of conceiving the·relations between psychology, politics and social policy formations in the light o~ the historical work of the preceding chapters. It discusses the concept of ideology and its poss:ble re-working, while refusing its characterisation as a third term intervening between the State and psychology. In conclUSion, it sug~ests uses.of the suggested cate00ry of socialised biology, inclu~ing uses for feminist theory and for materialist ethics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychology Psychology History