Psychology from the Standpoint of the Subject Selected Writings of Klaus Holzkamp Edited by Ernst Schraube Roskilde University, Denmark and Ute Osterkamp Free University Berlin, Germany Translated by Andrew Boreham (Berlin School of Economics) and Ute Osterkamp.
Selection and editorial matter © Ernst Schraube and Ute Osterkamp 2013 Translation © Andrew Boreham and Ute Osterkamp 2013 under license from Argument Verlag and the Berliner Institut für kritische Theorie (InkriT) All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission.
Contents Acknowledgements vii Introduction: Klaus Holzkamp and the Development of Psychology from the Standpoint of the Subject 1 Ute Osterkamp and Ernst Schraube Part I Basic Concerns and Concepts of Subject Science Psychology 1 Basic Concepts of Critical Psychology 19 2 The Development of Critical Psychology as a Subject Science 28 3 What Could a Psychology from the Standpoint of the Subject Be? 46 4 Missing the Point: Variable Psychology’s Blindness to the Problem’s Inherent Coherences 60 Part II Functional Analyses of Psychological Concepts 5 Personality: A Functional Analysis of the Concept 77 6 Practice: A Functional Analysis of the Concept 87 Part III De-subjectification of Learning in Psychological Theory and School 7 The Fiction of Learning as Administratively Plannable 115 8 Musical Life Practice and Music Learning at School 133 Part IV Constructing Otherness 9 The Concept of Anti-Racist Education: A Critical Analysis of Its Function and an Outline of a Subject Science Alternative 153 10 Racism and the Unconscious as Understood by Psychoanalysis and Critical Psychology 172 11 T he Colonization of Childhood: Psychological and Psychoanalytical Explanations of Human Development 210 v.
Acknowledgements The chapters in this book were translated by Andrew Boreham in coop- eration with Ute Osterkamp. The editors would like to express their gratitude to him for his work. We would also like to thank Athanasios Marvakis, Charlotte Højholt, Dimitris Papadopoulos, Erik Axel, Frigga Haug, Jens Brockmeier, Niklas Chimirri, Martin Dege, Morten Nissen, Ole Dreier and Thomas Teo for their assistance with the translation of particular terms and concepts. Special thanks are also due to Charles Tolman and Tod Sloan, who worked through the first versions of the translations and made valuable suggestions for the subsequent drafts.
Introduction: Klaus Holzkamp and the Development of Psychology from the Standpoint of the Subject Ute Osterkamp and Ernst Schraube Klaus Holzkamp (1927–1995) was a professor at Free University Berlin and the founder of German Critical Psychology, which worked towards a renewal of academic psychology. His ideas inspired and mobilized generations of young researchers and practitioners who were discon- tented with the socio-political function of psychology and the human sciences. Although his approach has been discussed internationally, much of his work is not available in English. With this book we offer a selection of his writings in order to introduce the reader to the central ideas of Holzkamp’s psychology from the standpoint of the subject.
1 Basic Concepts of Critical Psychology The relationship between individual and society When it comes to individuality or the human psyche, society cannot be ignored. Surely, no one doubts this. The question, however, is how society is taken into account. It is a current and widely held view that society is merely an environment that has effects upon people. This is, first of all, the case in the conditioning model of traditional psychology that, as you know, works with independent and dependent variables, conducting experiments in which conditions are set up in order to study their effects upon the individual’s behaviour. Society appears here, if at all, as an independent variable, as, for example, in studies of the effects of socioeconomic status on individuals. Yet similar notions of society can be found, for instance, in sociological role theory, in which society appears as a network of expectations to which individuals are exposed, and into which they then have to integrate. There are even Marxist theorists who understand society in this way, mistakenly interpreting the Sixth Thesis on Feuerbach to mean that the individual is the ensem- ble of societal relations. Thus, here too the individual’s behaviour is assumed to be determined by societal conditions. However, this stands in stark contradiction to the basics of Marx’s theory, according to which human beings are distinguished from all other species as they produce the means and conditions of their own lives, i.e. they do not simply live under conditions, but produce the conditions under which they live.
2 The Development of Critical Psychology as a Subject Science One needs only to glance at current trends within the social sciences and psychology to gain the impression that, at present, subjectivity is experiencing a boom. From different theoretical perspectives, “subject theories” are discussed and “subjective” structures analysed; the peo- ple who are “affected” are integrated, questioned or talked about, self- testimonials and self-experiences are en vogue. “Everyday life” as the subject’s living space is analysed and the particular quality of “everyday consciousness” emphasized. Methodologically, qualitative methods are increasingly recommended and tested as alternatives to or supplemen- tary to quantitative ones, and the possibilities and limits of biographi- cal methods are discussed; hermeneutic analyses of the construction of subjective meaning patterns are highlighted as an alternative approach to the mere collection of facts. Even in academic psychology, follow- ing the “cognitive turn”, the subjective has become acceptable again, at least in some areas. This is obvious not only in the systematic usage of terms previously dismissed as “mentalistic”, such as “expectation” or “consciousness” (“awareness”), but also in the way that traditional concepts are given a subjective touch by adding the prefix “self”: “self- perception”, “self-consciousness”, “self-reinforcement”, and – in the lat- est version of Bandura’s theory – “self-efficacy”.