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Constructing the Subject

Constructing the Subject
Historical Origins of Psychological Research


Part of Cambridge Studies in the History of Psychology

  • Date Published: April 1994
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521467858

£ 22.99

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About the Authors
  • Constructing the Subject traces the history of psychological research methodology from the nineteenth century to the emergence of currently favored styles of research in the second quarter of the twentieth century. Kurt Danziger considers methodology to be a kind of social practice rather than simply a matter of technique. Therefore his historical analysis is primarily concerned with such topics as the development of the social structure of the research relationship between experimenters and their subjects, as well as the role of the methodology in the relationship of investigators to each other in a wider social context. The book begins with a historical discussion of introspection as a research practice and proceeds to an analysis of diverging styles of psychological investigation. There is an extensive exploration of the role of quantification and statistics in the historical development of psychological research. The influence of the social context on research practice is illustrated by a comparison of American and German developments, especially in the field of personality research. In this analysis, psychology is treated less as a body of facts or theories than a particular set of social activities intended to produce something that counts as psychological knowledge under certain historical conditions. This perspective means that the historical analysis has important consequences for a critical understanding of psychological methodology in general.

    Reviews & endorsements

    'A transformation is currently under way in the historiography of the science of psychology, and Kurt Danziger's book is one of the best of the new breed arising from that transformation … Constructing the Subject is essential reading for historians of psychology, and highly recommended reading for other historians and sociologists of science.' Isis

    'Kurt Danziger's Constructing the Subject is the most striking achievement in historical research within psychology since the publication of Edwin G. Boring's History of Experimental Psychology in 1929.' American Scientist

    'Danziger is to be commended for his incisive and compelling archaeology of investigative practices. Without a doubt, this is the most important history of psychology to come along in years.' Contemporary Psychology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 1994
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521467858
    • length: 268 pages
    • dimensions: 233 x 157 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Historical roots of the psychological laboratory
    3. Divergence of investigative practice: the repudiation of Wundt
    4. The social structure of psychological experimentation
    5. The triumph of the aggregate
    6. Identifying the subject in psychological research
    7. Marketable methods
    8. Investigative practice as a professional project
    9. From quantification to methodolatry
    10. Investigating persons
    11. The social construction of psychological knowledge

  • Author

    Kurt Danziger

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