Psychologies in Revolution

Alexander Luria’s 'Romantic Science' and Soviet Social History

  • Hannah Proctor

Part of the Mental Health in Historical Perspective book series (MHHP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Hannah Proctor
    Pages 1-26
  3. Hannah Proctor
    Pages 27-70
  4. Hannah Proctor
    Pages 71-116
  5. Hannah Proctor
    Pages 117-163
  6. Hannah Proctor
    Pages 165-210
  7. Hannah Proctor
    Pages 211-238
  8. Hannah Proctor
    Pages 239-253
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 255-259

About this book


‘This book carves out novel opportunities to analyse scientific and social history within the Soviet context, especially as it pertains to marginalised and under-researched communities. In the process, it deeply enriches our understanding of the Soviet psy-disciplines, convincingly demonstrating the links between Soviet psychology and the broader research community. Historians of science, medicine, and Eastern Europe more broadly can equally learn from Proctor’s work.’

Mat Savelli, McMaster University, Canada

This book situates the work of the Soviet psychologist and neurologist Alexander Luria (1902-1977) in its historical context and explores the 'romantic' approach to scientific writing developed in his case histories. Luria consistently asserted that human consciousness was formed by cultural and historical experience. He described psychology as the ‘science of social history’ and his ideas about subjectivity, cognition and mental health have a history of their own. Lines of mutual influence existed between Luria and his colleagues on the other side of the iron curtain, but Psychologies in Revolution also discusses Luria’s research in relation to Soviet history – from the October Revolution of 1917 through the collectivisation of agriculture and Stalinist purges of the 1930s to the Second World War and, finally, the relative stability of the Brezhnev era – foregrounding the often marginalised people with whom Luria’s clinical work brought him into contact. By historicising science and by focusing on a theoretical approach which itself emphasised the centrality of social and political factors for understanding human subjectivity, the book also seeks to contribute to current debates in the medical humanities.


Critical neuroscience Medical humanities Social environment/factors October Revolution Stalinist Terror World War II Brezhnev Culturally developed human being Marginalised figures Western psychologists Marxist-Leninist theory

Authors and affiliations

  • Hannah Proctor
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for the Social History of Health and HealthcareUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-35027-7
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-35028-4
  • Buy this book on publisher's site