Kritische Psychologie

Psychology from the standpoint of the subject

Authored by: Johanna Motzkau , Ernst Schraube

Handbook of Critical Psychology

Print publication date:  April  2015
Online publication date:  April  2015

Print ISBN: 9781848722187
eBook ISBN: 9781315726526
Adobe ISBN: 9781317537182


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German (or German/Scandinavian) Kritische Psychologie emerged in the context of intellectual and political struggles at the Free University in the former West Berlin during the 1960s and 1970s (see Osterkamp and Schraube 2013 for an overview; Maiers 1999; Mørck and Huniche 2006; Tolman 1994). While based on a number of topical contributions (including Dreier 1980; Haug 1987; Holzkamp 1973; Osterkamp 1976; Tolman and Maiers 1991; Schurig 1975), Klaus Holzkamp’s (1927–1995) work played a pivotal role for Kritische Psychologie. Its philosophical foundation is informed by historical dialectical materialism, and, specifically, builds on ideas developed in Marx’s social theory and theses on Feuerbach concerning human subjectivity and practice (coining practice research), as well as the cultural-historical activity theory of Vygotsky, and above all, Leontiev (a legacy which has been taken up in various other alternative psychologies as well, cf. Engeström 1987; Hedegaard and Chaiklin 2005; Wertch 1991). Whilst the term ‘Kritische Psychologie’ is used widely in this context, it is problematic.

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