Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo

Subject Matter of Psychology

  • Ute Osterkamp
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_303


The establishment of psychology as an empirical discipline was closely linked with “scientific management” approaches as they had evolved at the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century. The leap forward in technological developments in industry stimulated manufacturers’ interest in achieving similar gains in manpower. The first efforts made in this direction were the time and motion studies of F.W. Taylor (1856–1915). By eliminating all unnecessary movements he determined the shortest possible time to perform a distinct task which was then set as a norm: those who fulfilled it, received full pay, while underachievers were paid less and overachievers more. To prevent the workers from developing opposition to such strategies – as, for instance, demanding agreements on restriction of output – a “socialengineering” was required, and psychologists seemed to be best qualified for this task. They had the additional asset of obscuring the exploitative character of such...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Allport, G. W. (1937). Personality. A psychological interpretation. New York: Holt.Google Scholar
  2. Bielefeldt, H. (2004). Menschenrechte: Universell gültig oder kulturell bedingt? Eine grundlegende Orientierung. In D. Bogner & St. Herbst (Eds.), Man hört nichts mehr vom Unrecht in deinem Land (Jesaja 60/18). Zur Menschenrechtsarbeit der katholischen Kirche. Schriftenreihe Gerechtigkeit und Frieden 100. Bonn: Justitia et Pax (pp. 13–23).Google Scholar
  3. Burman, E. (2008). Deconstructing developmental psychology. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Danziger, K. (1990). Constructing the subject. Historical origins of psychological research. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Danziger, K. (1997). Naming the mind. How psychology found its language. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Dean, M. (1999). Governmentality. Power and rule in modern society. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Escobar, A. (1997). The making and unmaking of the Third World through development. In M. Rahnema & V. Bawtree (Eds.), The post-development reader (pp. 85–93). London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  8. Gadamer, H. G. (1977). Philosophical hermeneutics. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  9. Giorgi, A. (1970). Psychology as a human science. A phenomenologically based approach. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  10. Graumann, C. F. (1988). Phenomenological analysis and experimental method in psychology – the problem of their compatibility. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 18(1), 33–50.Google Scholar
  11. Gronemeyer, M. (1992). Helping. In W. Sachs (Ed.), The development dictionary. A guide to knowledge as power (pp. 53–69). London: Zed Book.Google Scholar
  12. Heidegger, M. (1927/1962). Being and time. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  13. Herman, E. (1995). The romance of American psychology. Political culture in the age of experts. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  14. Holzkamp, K. (1996). Grundlegung der Psychologie. Frankfurt, Germany: Campus Verlag.Google Scholar
  15. Holzkamp, K. (2013). Psychology: Social self-understanding on the reasons for action in the conduct of everyday life. In E. Schraube & U. Osterkamp (Eds.), Psychology from the standpoint of the subject: Selected writings of Klaus Holzkamp (pp. 233–341). Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  16. Howitt, D., & Owusu-Bempah, J. (1994). The racism of psychology. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf.Google Scholar
  17. Martin, J., & Sugarman, J. (2001). Interpreting human kinds. Theory & Psychology, 11(2), 193–207.Google Scholar
  18. Marx, K., & Engels, F. (1976). The manifesto of the Communist Party. In K. Marx & F. Engels (Eds.), Collected work, Vol. VI. 1845–1848 (pp. 477–519). Moscow: Progress.Google Scholar
  19. Misgeld, D., & Jardine, D. W. (1989). Hermeneutics as the undisciplined child: Hermeneutic and technical images of education. In M. J. Packer & R. B. Addison (Eds.), Entering the circle. Hermeneutic investigation in psychology (pp. 259–273). New York: State University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Packer, M. J., & Addison, R. B. (Eds.). (1989). Entering the circle. Hermeneutic investigation in psychology. New York: State University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Richardson, F. C., Fowers, B. J., & Guignon, C. (1999). Renewing psychology. Beyond scientism and constructionism. San Francisco, CA: JosseyBass.Google Scholar
  22. Rose, N. (1990). Governing the soul. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Rose, N. (1996). Power and subjectivity. In C. F. Graumann & K. Gergen (Eds.), Historical dimensions of psychological discourse (pp. 103–124). Cambridge, UK: University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Teo, T. (2009). The critique of psychology. From Kant to postcolonial theory. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  25. van Dijk, T. A. (1992). Rassismus-Leugnung im Diskurs. Osnabrücker Beiträge zur Sprachtheorie (OBST), 46, 103–129.Google Scholar
  26. Wrench, J., Brar, H., & Martin, P. (1993). Invisible minorities. Racism in new towns and new contexts. Monographs in ethnic relations No 6, Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations. UK: University of Warwick.Google Scholar
  27. Wundt, W. (1897). Outlines of psychology. Leipzig, Germany: Engelmann.Google Scholar
  28. Wundt, W. (1913). Die Psychologie im Kampf ums Dasein. Leipzig, Germany: Arnold Kröner Verlag.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PsychologyFree University of BerlinBerlinGermany