Psychology's Position in Academia

by Liam Marsh

Psychologists have structures built into their trade which prevent them from following the instincts of imagination. The value psychology puts on the persona of scientific objectivity is demonstrated in the structural requirements of the professional classification of Psychologist. To receive this ranking one must fully commit to the scientific model as handed down through academia. This persona of science is mostly enforced in the style of writing that academia requires of the PhD candidate. This APA journal writing style requires that the psychologist makes excessive references to other works, not to demonstrate being well read, but rather to aid in the creation of the illusion of objectivity. This is further enhanced with references to research which models itself on the scientific method, yet recklessly ignores any real understanding of statistics or the scientific method it pretends to be following. In order to succeed in the professional and academic fields the psychologist has no choice but to don a half-baked scientific persona.

When psychology is imagined as category within an academic framework it is excluded from those other categories; political science, anthropology, literature, business management, all of which are aspects of the phenomenon of psyche. Divorcing itself from concerns of the political, historical, and cultural world it is left to dribble on about personal interiorities. When this dribbling imagination is further constrained by the pretense of an outdated fantasy of objectivity, the result becomes an intellectually infantile world of ideas. If she were to step out of the constrains of academia and its science, the psychologist would greatly expand her imaginal world.

The big question for psychologists is, what is the human investment in maintaining the sterile and constricted fantasy structure of academia? The answer involves an understanding of American culture and politics. It involves money and the people who benefit from the academic structures and the professional hiring practices. If the psychologist is invested in the material gains that result from the academic initiation process, there is no need to worry about how ideas are choked by the structures within. If a richness of imaginal wealth is in want than the narrowing structures will become a problem.

Going Back:

Science and Psychology
Ares Press homepage

Other Readings:

Ideas and Managed Care
The End of Therapy

Copyright 1996 The Ares Press and Hermes Systems