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Rebels within the Ranks
Psychologists' Critique of Scientific Authority and Democratic Realities in New Deal America


Part of Cambridge Studies in the History of Psychology

  • Date Published: August 2002
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521524940

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About the Authors
  • During the 1930s, psychologists Gordon Allport, Gardner Murphy, and Lois Barclay Murphy emerged from the fields of social and personality psychology to challenge the neo-behavioralist status quo in American social science. Willing to experiment with the idea of 'science' itself, these 'rebels within the ranks' contested ascendent conventions that cast the study of human life in the image of classical physics. Drawing on the intellectual, social, and political legacies of William James' radically empiricist philosophy and radical Social Gospel theology, these three psychologists developed critiques of scientific authority and democratic reality as they worked at the crossroads of the social and the personal in New Deal America. Appropriating models from natural history, they argued for the significance of individuality, contextuality and diversity as scientific concepts as they explored what they envisioned as the nature of democracy, and the democracy of nature.

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Pandora really does show, compellingly, the vitality of a professional-psychological endeavor in the 1930s that stood strikingly aloof from the discipline-building and behaviorist-advancing stories that dominate our histories of psychology. And she is wonderfully successful in detailing the link between this 'dissenting' psychology and the social gospel Protestant milieu that was drawn upon by social scientists of the 1930s to an extent that embarrassed later, proudly secular custodians of the social scientific past. This work demonstrates how a distinctive cluster of 'professional' social scientific initiatives at a particular historical moment were partly driven by, and contributed materially to, controversies in the politics and public philosophy of the American nation.' David Hollinger

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2002
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521524940
    • length: 276 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.444kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The Deep Context of Dissent: Jamesian Philosophy and Social Gospel Theology
    2. Challenging the Rule of the Game
    3. Defying the Law of Averages: Constructing a Science of Individuality
    4. The Pursuit of 'Impure' Science: Constructing a Science of Social Life
    5. Natural History and Psychological Habitats
    6. Exploratory Relativism and Patterns of Possibility

  • Author

    Katherine Pandora, University of Oklahoma

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