Through a study of the history of the concepts of wealth and poverty, this paper investigates the onset of a tradition in the conceptual architecture of epidemiological research concerning social differences in mortality rates from 1858 to 1914. It raises the question as to what the concepts of wealth and poverty meant to those who used them and what objects of interventions the conceptual architecture surrounding the concepts enabled the researchers to create. It argues that a transition began in the late 19th century in which an important framework for the understanding of causal relations behind the mortality patterns changed and that this change in turn influenced the scope of what was conceived as relevant objects of intervention.
Little is known about the world's first sociological society, Emile Littré's Société de Sociologie (1872-4). This article, based on prosopographic research, offers an interpretation of the foundation, political-intellectual orientation and early demise of the society. As indicated by recruitment and texts by its founding members, the Société de Sociologie was in fact conceived more as a political club than a learned society. Guided in this by Littré's heterodox positivism and the redefinition of sociology he proposed around 1870, the Société de Sociologie was intended first and foremost to accompany intellectually the political changes that Littré considered imperative in the early years of the Third Republic (1870-1940). This expectation found little echo among the members of the society, and it seems possible that Littré himself and his closest associates were the ones to interrupt the society's meetings. Some of its members' general studies on the status of the social sciences and their main divisions were continued in the framework of the journal "La Philosophie positive" (1867-83), but the authors most committed to those studies were on the margins of the Littré network. Neither the dominant positivist republicanism, centered around Littré and Dubost, nor the general sociology of the more peripheral members of the network (Mesmer, Roberty, Vitry) represented an important intellectual contribution to the formation of academic sociology in France. Given that the Société de Sociologie did contribute to diffuse the project of a sociological science and developed forms of sociology coherent enough to be rejected by the pioneers of university sociology, the group constitutes a significant case of failure in the history of the discipline.
This article is concerned with interactions between the natural and the human sciences. It examines a specific late 19th-century episode in their relationship and argues that the schism between the two branches of knowledge was due to cognitive factors, but consolidated through the social dynamics of institutionalized disciplines. It contends that the assignment of a social function to the human sciences to compensate for the self-destructive tendencies inherent in the technological society was expressed even by those, at the end of the 19th century, who were fervent advocates of a science-and technology-driven modernization.
This article explores a German philosophy of metaphor, which proposed a close link between the body and the mind as the basis for metaphor, debunked the view that metaphor is just a decorative rhetorical device and questioned the distinction between the literal and the figurative. This philosophy of metaphor developed at the intersection between a reflection on language and thought and a reflection on the nature of beauty in aesthetics. Thinkers such as Giambattista Vico, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Jean Paul and others laid the foundations for this philosophy and it was successively refined by Gustav Gerber, Alfred Biese and Friedrich Nietzsche. It influenced in its turn in various ways the linguistic study of metaphor and the psychology of metaphor as elaborated, for instance, by a lesser-known American scholar, Gertrude Buck. All these thinkers contributed to a philosophy and psychology of the metaphoric according to which metaphors are not only nice, but necessary for the structure and growth of human thought and language. Obvious parallels between this 19th-century philosophy of metaphor and the 20th-century theory of metaphor developed by Lakoff and his followers are examined throughout.
Christoph Meiners (1747-1810) was one of 18th-century Europe's most important readers of global travel literature, and he has been credited as a founder of the disciplines of ethnology and anthropology. This article examines a part of his final work, "Untersuchungen über die Verschiedenheiten der Menschennaturen" [Inquiries on the differences of human natures], published posthumously in the 1810s. Here Meiners developed an elaborate argument, based on empirical evidence, that the different races of men emerged indigenously at different times and in different places in natural history. Specifically this article shows how a sedentary scholar who never left Europe constructed a narrative of human origins and migrations on the basis of (1) French theory from the 1750s (Charles de Brosses and Simon Pelloutier) and (2) data gathered by explorers as reported in travel literature (J.R. Forster, Pérouse, Cook, Marsden).
This article explores two very different forms in which immoral conduct was problematized over the course of the 19th century. It does this by contrasting the sexual purity politics of the Vice Society and the medicalization of morality as `moral insanity'. Early in the century the Vice Society promoted coercive legislation with the aim of `suppressing vice'. From mid-century, moral insanity theories sought to grapple with vice by disaggregating `moral' from other forms of insanity. These two movements had quite distinct and incompatible lines of development; and they never overtly engaged with each other. The article makes its key argument by demonstrating the way in which such dissimilar trajectories came together towards the end of the century in the `moral hygiene' movement, mobilizing discourses of `degeneration' (and `feeblemindedness') with projects promoting sexual purity.
Hannah Arendt is widely regarded as a political theorist who sought to rescue politics from "society," and political theory from the social sciences. This conventional view has had the effect of distracting attention from many of Arendt's most important insights concerning the constitution of "society" and the significance of the social sciences. In this article, I argue that Hannah Arendt's distinctions between labor, work, and action, as these are discussed in "The Human Condition" and elsewhere, are best understood as a set of claims about the fundamental structures of human societies. Understanding Arendt in this way introduces interesting parallels between Arendt's work and both classical and contemporary sociology. From this I draw a number of conclusions concerning Arendt's conception of "society," and extend these insights into two contemporary debates within contemporary theoretical sociology: the need for a differentiated ontology of the social world, and the changing role that novel forms of knowledge play in contemporary society as major sources of social change and order.
This article looks at three historical efforts to coordinate the scientific study of biological and cultural aspects of human consciousness into a single comprehensive theory of human development that includes the evolution of the human body, cultural evolution and personal development: specifically, the research programs of Wilhelm Wundt, Lev Vygotsky and Albert Bandura. The lack of historical relations between these similar efforts is striking, and suggests that the effort to promote cultural and personal sources of consciousness arises as a natural foil to an overemphasis on the biological basis of consciousness, sometimes associated with biological determinism.
During the post-Second World War period, Adam Smith’s moral theory was down-played and he acquired the undeserved reputation of an amoral, radical individualist. The trend in recent scholarship has been to rehabilitate him as a moral theorist and this article continues that trend. After a sketch of Smith’s moral theory, the article addresses his little-studied views on moral education. This education is important in the creation of human excellence and social stability. Smith offers a series of recommendations about the moral education of the young. For him, liberal society needs moral education: some of it is to be provided privately and some is to be provided by the public.
This article critically interrogates contemporary forms of addiction medicine that are portrayed by policy-makers as providing a "rational" or politically neutral approach to dealing with drug use and related social problems. In particular, it examines the historical origins of the biological facts that are today understood to provide a foundation for contemporary understandings of addiction as a "disease of the brain." Drawing upon classic and contemporary work on "styles of thought," it documents how, in the period between the mid-1960s and the mid 1970s, such facts emerged in relation to new neurobiological styles of explaining and managing social problems associated with drug abuse, and an alliance between a relatively marginal group of researchers and American policy-makers who were launching the "War on Drugs." Beyond illustrating the political and material conditions necessary for the rise of addiction neuroscience, the article highlights the productivity of neurobiological thought styles, by focusing on the new biological objects, treatments and hopes that have emerged within the field of addiction studies over the last several decades.
This article revisits Arendt's and Foucault's converging accounts of modern (bio)politics and the entry of biological life into politics. Agamben's influential account of these ideas is rejected as a misrepresentation both because it de-historicizes biological/organic life and because it occludes the positivity of that life and thus the discursive appeal and performative force of biopolitics. Through attention to the genealogy of Arendt's and Foucault's own ideas we will see that the major point of convergence in their thinking is their insistence upon understanding biological thinking from the inside, in terms of its positivity. Agamben's assessment of modern politics is closer to Arendt's than it is to Foucault's and this marks a fascinating point of disagreement between Arendt and Foucault. Whereas Arendt sees the normalizing force of modern society as being in total opposition to individuality, Foucault posits totalization and individuation as processes of normation, which casts a light upon the relative import they place upon politics and ethics.
Humanitarian aid's psycho-therapeutic turn in the 1990s was mirrored by the increasing emotionalization and subjectivation of fund-raising campaigns. In order to grasp the depth of this interconnectedness, this article argues that in both cases what we see is the post-Fordist production paradigm at work; namely, as Hardt and Negri put it, the direct production of subjectivity and social relations. To explore this, the therapeutic and mental health approach in humanitarian aid is juxtaposed with the more general phenomenon of psychologization. This allows us to see that the psychologized production of subjectivity has a problematic waste-product as it reduces the human to 'Homo sacer', to use Giorgi Agamben's term. Drawing out a double matrix of a de-psychologizing psychologization connected to a politicizing de-politicization, it will further become possible to understand psycho-therapeutic humanitarianism as a case of how, in these times of globalization, psychology, subjectivity and money are all interrelated.
While many commentators have held that the concept "alienation" is of crucial importance when attempting to understand human existence, others have held that it is an inherently empty concept that we should abandon. In this article, I refute the latters' charge by showing that each conception of "alienation" is underpinned by a normative ontological conception of the preferable, or authentic, self and show that the concept "alienation" has ethical, existential and socio-political uses. From this I conclude that, when properly understood, the concept "alienation" can provide us with vital insights into human existence.
Alienation theory has acted as the stimulus for a great deal of research and writing in the history of sociology. It has formed the basis of many sociological "classics" focused on the workplace and the experiences of workers, and has also been mobilized to chart wider social malaise and individual troubles. Alienation theory usage has, however, declined significantly since its heyday of the 1960s and 1970s. Here, the reasons why alienation theory was "forgotten" and what can be gained by "remembering" alienation theory are explored. to realize this ambition this article proceeds by (1) briefly visiting differing definitions of alienation theory, before charting its high point, and the various debates and tensions of the time, during the 1960s and 1970s; (2) analysing the reasons why alienation theory fell from grace from the 1980s onwards; (3) elaborating how and why alienation theory is still relevant for sociology and the wider social sciences today.
The past decade has seen an explosion of work on the history of the human sciences during the Cold War. This work, however, does not engage with one of the leading human sciences of the period: linguistics. This article begins to rectify this knowledge gap by investigating the influence of linguistics and its concept of study, language, on American public, political and intellectual life during the postwar and early Cold War years. I show that language emerged in three frameworks in this period: language as tool, language as weapon, and language as knowledge. As America stepped onto the international stage, language and linguistics were at the forefront: the military poured millions of dollars into machine translation, American diplomats were required to master scores of foreign languages, and schoolchildren were exposed to language-learning on a scale never before seen in the United States. Together, I argue, language and linguistics formed a critical part of the rise of American leadership in the new world order - one that provided communities as dispersed as the military, the diplomatic corps, scientists and language teachers with a powerful way of tackling the problems they faced. To date, linguistics has not been integrated into the broader framework of Cold War human sciences. In this article, I aim to bring both language, as concept, and linguistics, as discipline, into this framework. In doing so, I pave the way for future work on the history of linguistics as a human science.
This article concerns the emergence of psychological constructs of personal power and control in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s and the ways in which they contributed to contemporary political explanations of social unrest. While social scientists and politicians at the time saw this unrest as a social problem that posed threats to social cohesion and stability, they located its cause not in the power structure of society but in the individual’s sense of his or her own powerlessness. The article discusses ‘locus of control’ as the central construct in new psychological explanations of powerlessness which drew on personality theory and behavioural psychology. The first half of the article traces the rise of the self-managing subject in behavioural psychology, identifying a key shift in conceptual, strategic and technical emphases, away from using behavioural approaches to modify the behaviour of others and towards developing ways of enabling people to manage their own behaviour. In the second half it examines the ways in which locus of control and related constructs were used to account for the educational under-achievement and political militancy of poor, black people in the United States. These explanations implicated individual helplessness and a sense of powerlessness in black people as a major social problem in the USA during this period: as a threat not only to personal development but, in particular, to social stability. In the process of this analysis I aim to demonstrate that the deployment of these constructs did more than reformulate old social problems in new ways; it enabled new social problems to be identified for which these constructs could offer explanations and solutions which both appealed to political authorities and helped to shape their conceptions of the ‘problem’.
Largely unacknowledged by historians of the human sciences, late-19th-century psychical researchers were actively involved in the making of fledgling academic psychology. Moreover, with few exceptions historians have failed to discuss the wider implications of the fact that the founder of academic psychology in America, William James, considered himself a psychical researcher and sought to integrate the scientific study of mediumship, telepathy and other controversial topics into the nascent discipline. Analysing the celebrated exposure of the medium Eusapia Palladino by German-born Harvard psychologist Hugo Münsterberg as a representative example, this article discusses strategies employed by psychologists in the United States to expel psychical research from the agenda of scientific psychology. It is argued that the traditional historiography of psychical research, dominated by accounts deeply averse to its very subject matter, has been part of an ongoing form of 'boundary-work' to bolster the scientific status of psychology.
This article looks at the feminist activism of particular women in the ancestry of the eminent Canadian sociologist, Dorothy E. Smith, and at the archival data that confirm the traces of their influence found in her theory-building. Using the method of interpretative historical sociology and a conceptual framework drawn from Marx called the "productive forces," the article examines the feminist theology of her Quaker ancestor, Margaret Fell, and the militant suffrage activism of her mother and her grandmother, Dorothy Foster Place and Lucy Ellison Abraham, respectively. The article argues that the household labour of the remarkable women in her family line became a "productive force" that facilitated her imagining of the feminist theory, "the standpoint of women".
Humoralism, the view that the human body is composed of a limited number of elementary fluids, is one of the most characteristic aspects of ancient medicine. The psychological dimension of humoral theory in the ancient world has thus far received a relatively small amount of scholarly attention. Medical psychology in the ancient world can only be correctly understood by relating it to psychological thought in other fields, such as ethics and rhetoric. The concept that ties these various domains together is character (êthos), which involves a view of human beings focused on clearly distinguishable psychological types that can be recognized on the basis of external signs. Psychological ideas based on humoral theory remained influential well into the early modern period. Yet, in 17th-century medicine and philosophy, humoral physiology and psychology started to lose ground to other theoretical perspectives on the mind and its relation to the body. This decline of humoralist medical psychology can be related to a broader reorientation of psychological thought in which the traditional concept of character lost its central position. Instead of the focus on types and stable character traits, a perspective emerged that was primarily concerned with individuality and transient passions.
In 1927, the Scottish philosopher John Anderson arrived in Australia to take up the chair of Philosophy at the University of Sydney. By the late 1930s, the "macrostructure" of his realist system was in place. It includes a theory of process and a substantial metaphysics, one that opposes positivism, linguistic philosophy and all forms of idealism. However, beyond Australia it remains largely unknown, despite its bearing on a number of current issues in psychology and the social sciences generally. This article outlines Anderson's transition from Hegelian idealism to realism, describes aspects of his ontology and epistemology, compares some of Anderson's ideas with Dewey's pragmatism and explains their relevance to present-day psychology.
This article aims to integrate discourse analysis of politically instrumental imagined identity geographies with the relational and territorial geography of the communities of praxis and interpretation that produce them. My case study is the international community of nationalist scientists who classified Europe's biological races in the 1820s-1940s. I draw on network analysis, relational geography, historical sociology and the historical turn to problematize empirically how spatial patterns of this community's shifting disciplinary and political coalitions, communication networks and power relations emerged, were structured, persisted, changed, interacted and disappeared. I focus especially on core-periphery relations. I argue that if local historical spatial patterns affect those of later phenomena, geographies like that of European integration should be understood in the context of Europe's complex historical cultural geography. Unlike discourse deconstruction alone, this complementary relational de-essentialization of geography can identify large-scale, enduring associations of cultural patterns as well as cultural flux and ambiguity.
If personhood is the quality or condition of being an individual person, "brainhood" could name the quality or condition of being a brain. This ontological quality would define the "cerebral subject" that has, at least in industrialized and highly medicalized societies, gained numerous social inscriptions since the mid-20th century. This article explores the historical development of brainhood. It suggests that the brain is necessarily the location of the "modern self," and that, consequently, the cerebral subject is the anthropological figure inherent to modernity (at least insofar as modernity gives supreme value to the individual as autonomous agent of choice and initiative). It further argues that the ideology of brainhood impelled neuroscientific investigation much more than it resulted from it, and sketches how an expanding constellation of neurocultural discourses and practices embodies and sustains that ideology.
Drawing on an analysis of Irving Kirsch and colleagues' controversial 2008 article in "PLoS [Public Library of Science] Magazine" on the efficacy of SSRI antidepressant drugs such as Prozac, I examine flaws within the methodologies of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that have made it difficult for regulators, clinicians and patients to determine the therapeutic value of this class of drug. I then argue, drawing analogies to work by Pierre Bourdieu and Michael Power, that it is the very limitations of RCTs -- their inadequacies in producing reliable evidence of clinical effects -- that help to strengthen assumptions of their superiority as methodological tools. Finally, I suggest that the case of RCTs helps to explore the question of why failure is often useful in consolidating the authority of those who have presided over that failure, and why systems widely recognized to be ineffective tend to assume greater authority at the very moment when people speak of their malfunction.
During the Second World War, through innovations in officer selection and group therapy, the army psychiatrists John Rickman and Wilfred Bion changed our understanding of leadership. They showed how soldiers under stress could develop real authority through their attentiveness to each other. From contrasting experiences 25 years earlier each had seen how people in groups are moved by elemental forces that undermine judgement and thought. This article arose from my experiences as a trainee at the Tavistock Clinic, where the method of reflective work discussion, giving individuals seated in a circle the choice to speak or to remain silent, seemed similar to a Quaker meeting. Many decades later, I found that this association had a basis in fact. Among other influences on Bion -- a childhood in India, distinguished service in the First World War, and a surgical apprenticeship with Wilfred Trotter -- there is a little-acknowledged Quaker source, in John Rickman, for Bion's radical work in the army that led to new methods of training and organizational consultancy in the postwar Tavistock.