CUSP, Open Psychology Research Centre, Psychology

Feminist Critical Psychology in an International Context: A discussion with members of CuSP and the Discourse Unit.

Prof. Rose Capdevila, Dr. Johanna Motzkau and Prof Sarah Crafter, from the School, talk to three renowned critical and feminist psychologists. They are Prof Erica Burman, Dr. Ilana Mountian and Prof Ingrid Palmary. They talk about their connections to the Discourse Unit and the translatability of psychology across different geographical locations, disciplinary boundaries and traditions. 

Prof Erica Burman is Professor of Education, at the Institute of Education at the University of Manchester in the UK. She is a feminist critical psychologist and psychotherapist and as such has published extensively in the areas of critical developmental psychology and feminist theory including the classic text Deconstructing Developmental Psychology

Erica is also co-founder (with Ian Parker) of the Discourse Unit – a transinstitutional and transdisciplinary centre for the study of the reproduction and transformation of language and subjectivity.

Dr Ilana Mountian is a psychoanalyst and a postdoctoral lecturer at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. Her work draws on psychoanalytic, critical, decolonial, and feminist philosophies and she is author of Cultural Ecstasies: Drugs, Gender, and the Social Imaginary, a book which explores discourses around drug use, gender, and drug policy. 

Ilana completed her PhD in Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK. She was supervised by Prof Burman and is a member of the Discourse Unit.

Prof Ingrid Palmary is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. Ingrid’s research has been in the field of gender, violence and displacement such as women’s engagement with political transition and armed conflict. She is the author of Gender, sexuality and migration in South Africa: Governing morality which takes an intersectional approach to its subject matter, exploring the ways in which gendered and sexualised notions come into relation with discussions on migration.

Ingrid completed her PhD (psychology) at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. She was supervised by Prof Burman and is a member of the Discourse Unit.

In this interview three members of CuSP Dr Johanna MotzkauProf. Rose Capdevila and Prof Sarah Crafter speak with Erica, Ilana and Ingrid. The interview endeavoured to bring together feminist psychologists from different parts of the world with a shared intellectual tradition to reflect on psychology, cultural distance, and the possibilities for ‘translating’ psychology to different contexts.

The interview divides into three parts. The first focuses on critical reflections on psychology. Erica, Ilana and Ingrid were asked about their own work and experiences of psychology as a discipline which has often been accused of being ethnocentric and anglo/Western-centric. The three interviewees talked about the cultural and geopolitical resources they draw on in their own work and reflected on how specific groups in psychology become seen as ‘other’ in local communities.

In the second part Erica, Ilana and Ingrid return to a discussion about how critical psychology is framed in their individual country contexts of the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil. They discuss the sub-discipline of ‘critical psychology’ and the important role that it can play in calling attention to the real-life issues which result from the psychologisation of the individual that is pervasive in mainstream psychology.

The third part of the interview turned to issues around the translatability of psychological knowledge across different contexts and traditions, acknowledging that ‘translation’ refers not only to language but also to understandings of theory and practice. 

Watch the interview here:

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