Constructing the Subject: Historical Origins of Psychological Research / Edition 1

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The book traces the history of psychological research methodology from the nineteenth century to the emergence of currently favored styles of research. Professor Danziger considers methodology as a kind of social practice rather than being 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 methodology in the relationship of investigators to each other and to a wider social context. Another major theme addresses the relationship between the social practice of research and the nature of the product that is the outcome of this practice.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Danziger is to be commended for his incisive and compelling archeology of investigative practices. Without a doubt, this is the most important book on the history of psychology to come along in years." Henderikus J. Stam, Contemporary Psychology

"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... essential reading for historians of psychology, and highly recommended reading for other historians and sociologists of science." Deborah J. Coon, Isis

"...the most striking achievement in historical research within psychology since the publication of Edwin G. Boring's History of Experimental Psychology....Danziger presents psychologists with a tightly argued thesis supported by an impressive depth and breadth of scholarship. I hope that his book will initiate a profound and prolonged debate about the nature of psychology." John A. Mills, American Scientist

"...admirably documents the roots of psychology's identity conflict as a science, a trend which he shows often led psychologists away from good theory construction, only to become mired in method fetishism. In this, his history is refreshingly contemporary." Cheiron Newsletter

"Unlike most history of psychology texts, Constructing the Subject has clear and immediate relevance to those engaged in practising and teaching experimental psychology. They will not like the message but they must surely reply to it or at least acknowledge its receipt." The Times Higher Education Supplement

"...a tour de force in the new history of psychology. It transcends the old debate over internal versus external factors in the development of scientific knowledge by revealing the social processes that lead to particular kinds of knowledge claims." James H. Capshew, Theory & Psychology

"...helps to reveal the socially constructive character of psychological categories that are often taken as 'natural' entities in a reality independent of sociocultural processes. His method for doing this, however, is not ethnographic, but historical, and his book demonstrates how historical analysis can make an important contribution to the ongoing development of psychology." Harry Heft, The Psychological Record

"...essential reading for historians of psychology, and highly recommended reading for other historians and sociologists of science." Deborah J. Coon, Isis

"It is essential reading for all with an active interest in the history of our discipline and is highly recommended as well for garden-variety research practitioners who dare to consider practicing their art without taking its ways for granted." Charles W. Tolman, Canadian Psychology

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface; 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; Appendix; Notes; Index.

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