‘Critical psychology in Asia’

Four fundamental concepts

Authored by: Anup Dhar

Handbook of Critical Psychology

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

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

10.4324/9781315726526.ch44

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Abstract

Marx writes in the section on ‘The Method of Political Economy’ in the Grundrisse: ‘even the most abstract categories, despite their validity – precisely because of their abstractness – for all epochs, are nevertheless, in the specific character of this abstraction, themselves likewise a product of historic relations, and possess their full validity only for and within these relations’ (1993: 105). Marx had in mind the category of labour. Mind, psyche, reason, madness, health, and also Asia are, however, no exceptions. They are the product of historical relations and possess their full validity only for and within these relations. Medicine, psychiatry, psychology, and the clinic also need to be seen within the ‘historical constitution of [their] own practices’ and the ‘political-economic conditions in which [they] became possible’ (Parker 2011:1), and also the discourse within which they grew roots (Foucault 2006). The ‘invention of the mind’ by Descartes as ‘mirror of nature’ (Rorty 1979: 357) and the ‘Cartesian progression of doubt’ as the condition of the ‘great exorcism of madness’ (Foucault 2006: 244) would therefore serve as philosophical signposts and historical roadmaps in our foray into critical psychology in Asia.

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