Affordable Access

A history of women's bodies

Medical History
Cambridge University Press
Publication Date
  • Book Review
  • Biology
  • History
  • Medicine
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences


Book Reviews institutional programmes, and social ideologies that constitute the "origins" of twentieth- century psychology, will provide an alternative historiography. The essays do not establish a connected alternative history to Boring's; rather, they illustrate the sort of work which is emerg- ing as historians accept that the development of a science is as "problematic" as any other form of social change. The collection is therefore an excellent indication of recent work (North American and European) in the history of psychology. The choice of the term "problematic", perhaps deliberately, leaves the contributors free to work with quite different historiographic orientations. The essays of most relevance to medical historians are probably Kurt Danziger on 'Mid- nineteenth-century British psycho-physiology' (embarrassingly enough for me, since my thesis was on the very topic, subtitled 'a neglected chapter in the history of psychology'!), which brings out - though somewhat uncritically - the medical social setting; a summary restatement by Frank Sulloway of his argument linking Freud and biology; Alexandre Metraux on the ideology of French crowd psychology; and Siegfried Jaeger on William Preyer and the origins of child psychology. These last two essays illustrate extremely well the "problematic" quality of psy- chology as science, which the editors have sought to bring out in their own introduction and epilogue. Unfortunately, some of the contributions are rushed and superficial: thus Robert Richards ('Darwin and the biologising of moral behavior') and Lorraine Daston ('The theory of will versus the science of mind' in late nineteenth-century British psychology) tackle important philosophical issues with a rather arbitrary deployment of historical material. (Throughout the book, citation and proof-reading have been rushed.) But the editors have done well to get a con- tribution from M. G. Yaroschevskii, restating in historical detail the Soviet view that 1. M. Sechenov founded a distinctive sc

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.


Seen <100 times