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Professional reinventions: Swedish psychologists, 1990-2010
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Sociology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2016 (English)In: History of Psychology, ISSN 1093-4510, E-ISSN 1939-0610, Vol. 19, no 4, 274-297 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Since the early 20th century, the Swedish psychology profession has undergone several changes in its essential tasks, epistemological foundations, and social roles. These changes occurred through an ongoing “tuning” with Swedish society, in which the profession strove to appear relevant to society’s concerns and problems as well as enroll others to share the profession’s goals and aims. Studying the history of the profession can thus shed light on the changing definitions and contours of the psychology profession itself as well as on the organization of the society in which it acts. This article examines the history of the Swedish psychology profession from 1990 to 2010, through an analysis of the discussions and debates taking place in the Swedish Psychological Association’s journal. The analytical framework used draws on work done within actor–network theory and science studies. We argue that the profession’s institutional connections, defining tasks, epistemological underpinnings, and social position have changed in major ways during these 2 decades. Overall, as a result of an increasingly felt insecurity, the profession has turned outward and tried to find new ways to legitimize itself to politicians, the media, patients, and customers through means such as a more economized vocabulary and novel forms of empirical research. These changes have led to a more socialized profession, now more closely tuned to other actors in Swedish society, leading to conflicts within the profession over whether this is an opportunity to better control their own destiny or if it will lead to a loss of autonomy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Psychological Association (APA), 2016. Vol. 19, no 4, 274-297 p.
Keyword [en]
History of Psychology, Psychologists, Theories, Experience Level
National Category
History of Ideas Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-132555DOI: 10.1037/hop0000040PubMedID: 27336239OAI: diva2:1046563
Available from: 2016-11-14 Created: 2016-11-14 Last updated: 2016-11-28Bibliographically approved

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