The Withering of Theory in Mainstream Social Psychology: Whither Our Next Theoretical Turn?
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?
KeywordsSocial Psychology Experimental Social Psychology Male Colleague Publication Pattern Empirical Article
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Apfelbaum, E. (1997) Contrepoints et debats: La psychologie sociale à l’épreuve des femmes: l’impensé des rapports de domination. [Counterpoints and debates: Social psychology as challenged by women: The ignored concerning relations of domination] Revue Internationale de Psychologie Sociale/International Review of Social Psychology, 10, (2), 153–169Google Scholar
- Billig, M. (1998). Repopulating social psychology texts: Disembodied “subjects” and embodied subjectivity. In B. M. Bayer J. Shotter (Eds) Reconstructing the psychological subject (pp. 126–152 ). London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Febbraro, A. (1997). Gender, mentoring, and research practices: Social psychologists trained at the University of Michigan, 1949–1974. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Guelph.Google Scholar
- Febbraro, A., Lubek, I., Bauer, N., Ross, B., Thorns, H., Brown, S. Ham, M.A. (1996). Incidence du genre et du mentor sur la production scientifique et la carrière des psychologues: La perspective de la psychosociologie de la science. (trans. N. Apfelbaum-Lubek). [Gender differences, mentors, scientific productivity and careers among psychologists: The perspective from the social psychology of science.] Cahiers du GEDISST, 16 1 123–160.Google Scholar
- Febbraro, A., Ross, B., Thoms-Chesley, H., Bauer, N., Lubek, I. (1999). Inter-generational theory generation and gender. In W. Maiers, B. Bayer, B. Duarte Esgalhado, R. Jorna E. Schraube. (Eds) Challenges to theoretical psychology, (pp. 109–118 ). Toronto: Captus Press.Google Scholar
- Lubek, I. (1980). The psychological establishment: Pressures to preserve paradigms, publish rather than perish, win funds and influence students. In K. Larsen (Ed.) Social psychology: Crisis or failure? (pp. 129–157 ). Monmouth, Ore: Institute for Theoretical History.Google Scholar
- Lubek, I. (1995). A “social psychology of science” approach towards an inter-personal history of social psychology. In H.-P. Brauns, S. Jaeger, L. Sprung I. Staeuble (Eds) Psychologie im soziokulturellen Wandel-Kontinuitäten und Diskontinuitäten. (pp. 98–114 ). Frankfurt: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
- Lubek, I. (2000a). Revisibilizing Erika Apfelbaum’s (1979) “lost chapter’: A case study in the invisibilizing of women’s work in social psychology. Unpublished paper, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada.Google Scholar
- Lubek, I. (2000b). Understanding and using the history of Social Psychology. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 36, (4)Google Scholar
- Lubek, I. Apfelbaum, E. (1987). Neo-behaviorism and the Garcia effect: A social psychology of science approach to the history of a paradigm clash. In M. Ash and W. Woodward (Eds). Psychology in twentieth century thought and society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 59–91.(Reprinted, 1989 ).Google Scholar
- Lubek, I., Febbraro, A., Ferris, M., Bauer, N. Samotowka, D., Edmonds, S., Ross, B. Thoms-Chesley, H. (1998) Historiographical invisibility and invisibilizations: Examples from the history of social psychology. In J. Good (Ed.) European Society for the History of the Human Sciences: Proceedings of the XVIIth annual conference. (pp 93–100 ). Durham: Centre for the History of the Human Sciences.Google Scholar
- Ross, B., Febbraro, A., Thoms-Chesley, H., Bauer, N., Lubek, I. (1996). Is there a season for theory? Patterns of theoretical, methodological and empirical writings of a sample of men and women social psychologists over the lengths of their careers. In C. Tolman, F. Cherry, R. van Hezewijk I. Lubek (Eds). Problems of theoretical psychology (pp. 228–241 ). Toronto: Captus Press.Google Scholar