TOWARD A DIALOGUE BETWEEN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HISTORY

Written by Sandra G. L. SCHRUIJER on . Posted in Special issue: Making Sense Of Social Reality, Guest Editor: Petru L. CUR┼×EU, Volume IX, Nr. 4

Abstract:

In this article I argue for building a dialogue between the discipline of (social) psychology and that of history. Historians only have a limited understanding of psychology and what it may offer to an understanding of the past, while psychologists in their academic work seem little or not at all interested in the past. Both disciplines can learn a lot from one another. Leadership for example, should be studied as a social and contextual phenomenon. A historical perspective provides a very relevant contextual way of thinking that helps psychologists to understand human behavior in-depth. The only psychology that has entered historical thinking is a psychoanalytic perspective by Peter Gay. Historians associate psychology with psychoanalysis or individual psychology and have not used concepts from for example social psychology. A psychology informed by history and a history informed by psychology pose various challenges and potential problems, like anachronistic thinking and the difficulties working across disciplinary boundaries, which I will briefly discuss. Examples that are derived from my own readings and research, on Hitler, christianization, Satie and antipapism illustrate my arguments.

Keywords: history and psychology, decontextualization, multidisciplinarity