The Withering of Theory in Mainstream Social Psychology: Whither Our Next Theoretical Turn?

  • Ian Lubek
  • Mark Ferris
  • Angela Febbraro
  • Natasha Bauer
  • Brian Ross
  • Heather Thoms-Chesley
  • Sue Edmonds
  • Michael Andrews
Chapter

Summary

We first describe cases where critical theoretical social psychological ideas do not reach their primary intended audiences, through processes of gatekeeping and invisibilization. Scanning eight major social psychology journals at 10-year intervals from 1947 to 1997, we noted that only limited space had been allotted, about 10.8%, for publishing non-empirical articles— those not reporting new data, two thirds of which were “theoretical”. This is contrasted with the rate of 26.3% senior-authored non-empirical journal article production, as seen in the career-long publication outputs of a sample of 338 social psychologists trained (1949–1974) at University of Michigan. Women were seemingly less successful than men in placing their non-empirical work (as compared to empirical) in the eight prestigious social psychology journals. As mainstream journal space seemingly withers away, we may ask whither social psychologists may turn to publish their non-empirical/theoretical articles, especially when critical positions are taken. If social psychologists must turn away from their own journals for theoretical ideas, what long term effects will this have for the overall encouragement, mentoring, and ongoing struggle for visibility, of writings about theory?

Keywords

Social Psychology Experimental Social Psychology Male Colleague Publication Pattern Empirical Article 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Lubek
    • 1
  • Mark Ferris
    • 2
  • Angela Febbraro
    • 3
  • Natasha Bauer
    • 4
  • Brian Ross
    • 4
  • Heather Thoms-Chesley
    • 1
  • Sue Edmonds
    • 1
  • Michael Andrews
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GuelphCanada
  2. 2.University of Western OntarioCanada
  3. 3.Wilfrid Laurier UniversityCanada
  4. 4.York UniversityUK

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