Encounters between feminism and psychology: Territories of critique and collusion

  • Alexandra RutherfordEmail author


The encounters between feminism and psychology have taken various forms. Previously, I have structured these encounters in terms of a tripartite framework: feminism and/in/as psychology (Rutherford & Pettit, 2015). “Feminism and psychology” refers to the relationship between a political/cultural movement and a scientific discipline, and highlights the efforts of participants in each to problematize, or distance from, the other. “Feminism in psychology” refers to the critiques of psychology from within, foregrounding the interventions of self-identified feminists in psychology and their attempts to alter its methods, epistemologies, theories, and practices. Finally, “feminism as psychology/psychology as feminism” explores the conceptual and cultural linkages and elisions between the two, or the ways in which feminism has become psychologized, and psychology has absorbed feminist critique into its “business as usual.” In this chapter, I explore the encounters between feminism and P/psychology by asking the questions: How, where, in what forms, and with what consequences have feminism and P/psychology related to one another? Under what intellectual, cultural, economic, and political conditions have they parted ways, emulsified, or made common cause, and to what intellectual and material effects? I use three United-States-based case studies spanning the 1950s to the present, that exemplify the porous boundaries of P/psychology, highlighting the non-academic, non-disciplinary territories where feminism and P/psychology have come together in diverse ways. I conclude that only by attending to these diverse territories can we account for and understand the ubiquity, appeal, and influence of psychological thinking in society, and unpack the influence of feminism and psychology on gender ideologies.


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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.York UniversityTorontoKanada

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