Fox Professing
Home
Blog
FAQ
Academic Papers Opinion Columns Personal Essays Course Materials
Photos

 

 

Seminar Topics

PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIETY IN CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE

York University - Fall 2009

These terms and ideas come to mind as related to our seminar's themes. Although this is not a complete outline of the course and the terms vary in specificity and overlap, it should give you a better sense of the kinds of things I see as relevant.

My articles, essays, and presentations on most of these topics are on this site. Here's a comprehensive list.

  1. SEMINAR PURPOSE AND PROCESS
    1. Purpose
      1. Individual-Community-Society
      2. Identity, justice, power, …
      3. Life Choices
      4. It’s Only Human Nature
      5. Assumptions and Questions
      6. Societal Institutions
    2. Process
      1. Interdisciplinary
      2. Multi-method
      3. Flexible
      4. Self-Management
      5. “Objectivity” and point of view
  2. VALUES, CHOICES, POWER
    1. what do we (think we) know about human nature and human society?
      1. things we take for granted: what’s normal?
    2. learning what we know
    3. implications
      1. political preferences
      2. ideological justifications - “it’s only human nature”
      3. life choices
      4. e.g., “what’s fair”? distributive justice
    4. institutions
      1. schools, universities corporations, legislatures, courts, religious bodies, media, etc.
      2. socialization, organization, legitimation
  3. Origins and Trends / Autonomy and Community
    1. human origins: variations and stereotypes, changes, trends, possibilities
      1. agriculture, centralization, urbanization, government, law, organized religion,…
    2. autonomy/community tension in corporatized and globalized societies
      1. individualistic ethos vs. indigenous, egalitarian, environmental, other values
      2. hierarchy and self-management
      3. autonomy, individuality, selfhood, independence, empowerment, power …
      4. community, psychological sense of community, interdependence, mutuality,….
        1. virtual vs. face-to-face vs. ….
      5. extended family, nuclear family, clan, community, tribe, nation, geo region, globe …
      6. anarchism, communism, communitarianism, utopianism, …
    3. sovereignty and power: nation states, corporate boards, religious hierarchies
    4. capitalism - profit motive, property, possessiveness, competition, consumerism
    5. corporations
      1. scope – globalization -
      2. hierarchy, bureaucracy, obedience, displaced responsibility, risk
      3. legal personhood
    6. secularism and rationalism
    7. ecological dysfunction
    8. technology, Web 2.0, …
    9. centralization – power, decisions, agriculture, popular culture, …
    10. modernization and the psyche
  4. Family, Friends, Community
    1. extended family, nuclear family, clan, community, tribe, nation, geo region, globe …
      i) functions, expectations, alternatives
      ii) intentional community
    2. friends / lovers
    3. monogamy / polyamory
    4. sexual identity / categorization
  5. Anarchist Hypotheses
    1. anarchism on human nature
    2. anarchist principles as social psychological hypotheses
    3. power, hierarchy, cooperation/competition, etc.
    4. autonomy/community balance
      1. communal individuality

INSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT

  1. Psychology and the Status Quo
    1. critique and ideology
      1. status quo of psychology: individualism
      2. psychology as technology
    2. psychology’s radicals: past influence, current status, future potential
      1. radical therapy, feminist psychology, critical psychology
      2. “psychology of the left”
    3. scope of change – levels of analysis – political identity
  2. Social Psychology
    1. authority, power, hierarchy, obedience, conformity, aggression, sex roles
    2. group dynamics, competition, cooperation, conflict resolution
    3. interpersonal interaction – communication, friendship, love & romance, family, sexuality
    4. values, morality, justice
    5. tragedy of the commons, community, utopia
  3. Education & Socialization / Academia & Professionalism
    1. ideological and methodological assumptions
    2. psychology and other social sciences
    3. education as training for capitalism and hierarchy: grading, competition, routinization, …
    4. deschooling / unschooling
    5. academia as profession
      1. graduate & professional training
        1. research, pressures to publish, teaching, career
        2. are alternatives possible?
  4. Law, Legitimacy, Justice
    1. tool for reform or tool for injustice
      1. law and … justice, morality, values, social order …
      2. law for change or law for social control
      3. individual rights vs. common good
      4. schools of thought about law
        1. sociological jurisprudence, legal realism, procedural justice, law & society/social science in law, psych & law, law & economics, feminist jurisprudence, psychological jurisprudence, critical legal studies
    2. definitions – origins – vs. custom
      1. society without law
      2. alternate dispute resolution - mediation, arbitration, reconciliation
      3. community decision-making
      4. Truth and Reconciliation Commissions
    3. legal and political legitimacy
      1. obedience to law – power + legitimacy
      2. law and democracy
      3. procedural justice vs. substantive justice
        1. fabrications of justice
        2. ideology and false consciousness
      4. law vs. equity
      5. disobedience and resistance
    4. legal reasoning and the rule of law
      1. “reasonable person” assumptions
      2. equality vs. discretion
      3. rules, categorization, generalization, rationalism
        1. law as conservative – resistance to social change
      4. legal fictions- law and truth vs. conflict resolution
      5. role of appellate judges
    5. Case Studies
      1. disability evaluation
      2. international law/human rights
      3. Canada issues
        1. First Nations
        2. provincial sovereignty
  5. Corporations and Power
    1. corporate identity/personhood
    2. agency, autonomy, responsibility
    3. bureaucracy, group dynamics
    4. power
    5. investment and responsibility
      1. “socially responsible” investing?
  6. PROSPECTS AND PATHS FOR MUTUALITY AND LIBERATION
    1. prospects and paths
    2. scope of change
    3. means and ends
    4. psychologist as advocate
    5. radical role in psychology, academia, society
 


Additional Relevant Material

 


up to top

Home
Blog
personal/political observations
FAQ
Academic Papers Opinion Columns Personal Essays Course Materials
Photos
some political, most not

http://www.dennisfox.net

Contact

Page updated September 25, 2009