Reflecting on psychology through a double lens: The Psychological Humanities as an integrated approach

Lisa Malich, David Keller


Abstract: In this paper, we argue that the recent debates and proclaimed crises in psychology are partly due to a reflection deficit and the reductionist understanding of psychology as exclusively a science. For this reason, we introduce Psychological Humanities as a novel interdisciplinary approach that defines psychology as its object of investigation and opens a field of reflection. Although the study of psychological topics with an orientation toward the humanities is not new, either within or outside of psychology, we argue for the introduction of the collective term Psychological Humanities for four reasons: (1) the definition of Psychological Humanities does more justice to central psychological subject areas such as subjectivity, (2) it serves as a common term of interconnectedness and visibility, (3) it resonates with new reflective fields in related disciplines, such as the medical humanities, and (4) it is more consistent with intersubjective practice in applied psychology. In what follows, we present our approach to Psychological Humanities, developed at the University of Lübeck. Our model differentiates between two fundamental views: a view from the outside on the discipline of psychology and its contexts (e.g., through history, cultural studies, and ethics) and a view from the inside on psychology (e.g., through theoretical psychology, critical psychologies, or epistemology of psychology).

Keywords: Interdisciplinary Research; Subjectivity; Epistemology of Psychology; Applied Psychology; Psychological Humanities


Guardare la psicologia attraverso una doppia lente: le Psychological Humanities come approccio integrato

Riassunto: In questo articolo sosterremo che le discussioni recenti e le crisi proclamate in psicologia sono dovuti in parte a un deficit di riflessione e a una comprensione riduttiva della psicologia come disciplina esclusivamente scientifica. Per questo motivo presentiamo le Psychological Humanities come nuovo approccio interdisciplinare che ha la psicologia come proprio oggetto di indagine e apre un campo d’indagine. Sebbene lo studio di argomenti psicologici con un orientamento verso le discipline umanistiche non sia nuovo, né all’interno né all’esterno della psicologia, sosterremo l’introduzione del termine collettivo Psychological Humanities per quattro motivi: (1) la definizione di Psychological Humanities rende maggiormente giustizia ad aree tematiche psicologiche centrali come la soggettività, (2) funge da termine comune di interconnessione e visibilità, (3) richiama altri ambiti di riflessione in discipline affini quali le medical humanities ed (4) è più coerente con la pratica intersoggettiva in psicologia applicata. Nel lavoro che segue presenteremo l'approccio alle Psychological Humanieties che abbiamo sviluppato presso l’Università di Lubecca. Il nostro modello differenzia tra due prospettive fondamentali: uno sguardo esterno alla psicologia come disciplina e ai suoi contesti (per esempio attraverso la storia, gli studi culturali e l’etica) e uno sguardo interno alla psicologia (per esempio attraverso la psicologia teoretica, le psicologie critiche o l’epistemologia della psicologia).

Parole chiave: Ricerca interdisciplinare; Soggettività; Epistemologia della psicologia; Psicologia applicata; Psychological Humanities

Parole chiave

Interdisciplinary Research; Subjectivity; Epistemology of Psychology; Applied Psychology; Psychological Humanities

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