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Title: Organising ideas : British psychology in the private society, 1865-1918
Author: Chernoff , Nathalie Luise
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 7338
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis is a comprehensive study of psychological societies founded in Britain between 1865 and 1901 (see Appendix A for complete list). In the latter part of the nineteenth century, a series of interlinked private societies were initiated by four distinct social networks. The work of these societies reflected key concerns of these social groups regarding the emergence of psychiatry as a specialisation of medicine, the administration of mental assessments of London school children, and the endorsement of an open, meritocratic platform for the study mental philosophy. These issues were also key concerns within the broader Victorian cultural of professional and amateur science and therefore point to the connectedness of psychological societies to British intellectual discourses in the late nineteenth century. Moreover, British psychological societies were supported by a uniquely diverse membership including: practitioners of other scientific disciplines, charity workers, Spiritualists, government officials, lawyers and a significant contingent of otherwise unaffiliated citizens. Though the members of these societies came together at different times and with different collective intentions, each group saw fit to pronounce their subject as psychology and themselves as psychologists. Using the popular model of the Victorian private “gentleman’s scientific societies”, psychology societies determined definitions and purposes for psychology, devised psychological research projects, inducted new members, nominated representatives to participate in nominated representatives to participate in related organisations, administered shared resources, drafted public documents and backed the publication of specialist journals. This thesis will therefore redefine the parameters of the history of psychology in Britain to show that the proliferation of such diverse and continuous society activities throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century was a key driver of the professionalization of psychology as a distinct discipline and a legitimate professional identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available