Question 2: Critically discuss the basic principles of CP. Situate your argument by referring to how a specific school can be manipulated to either perpetuate ideologies and ideas or how it can facilitate critical thinking.
In discussing the basic principles of Critical Psychology, we need to establish what Critical psychology is – what its basic concerns are, etc. After doing that and reaching an understanding of what critical psychology is, we can look at how specific schools can be manipulated to either perpetuate ideologies and ideas or how it can facilitate critical thinking.
Critical psychology is an approach rather than a theory, an orientation towards psychological knowledge and ...view middle of the document...
And basically cp’s basic preoccupation lies with those ‘taken-for-granted’ assumptions concerning reality, human nature and knowledge that are reflected and perpetuated by psychology.
In other words, cp asks what exactly can be considered to be generaliseable, universal and applicable to all individuals. It asks who has produced what we call knowledge and for whom was it produced. For example, it may ask if it is possible to apply Western-developed theories on rural African communities. CP is concerned with how psychology impacts on our identities, how it plays a part in making us who we are by providing the technical vocabulary and concepts that enable us to examine ourselves in the terms it provides; it is also concerned with how we understand ourselves, with how psychology ‘makes us’ and gives us subject-positions. Critical psychology can be boiled down to a critical awareness of how psychology locks us into descriptions of who we are, descriptions which reinforce patterns and relations of social power. Cp also involves questions of the psychological processes, dynamics, capacities and practices through which people may achieve emancipation, freedom, liberation and escape from particular power structures of oppression and exploitation.
Looking for example at Psychoanalysis, this school has certain chains of thought, specifically that of Melanie Klein and her followers, that argue that certain psychological characteristics of individuals are universal, natural and unchangeable. This is a clear example of how psychological knowledge can be used to enforce power over individuals, telling them that they are programmed to behave in a certain manner and that that specific manner can never be changed. This may result in people sitting back and simply accepting their specific situation, not even attempting to change that situation as they believe that they have been biologically wired in that manner. For example with regard to racism, Kleinians believe that racists or victims of racism will only be able to acknowledge that they have a problem, but that the problem will always be present and ready to erupt again at any stage. This places people in a box and telling them that there is nothing they can do to get out of that.
However, cp is not just about criticising theories and labelling them as being wrong, because one can again ask who decides what is right and what is wrong, so if it just criticises it will go against exactly that which it stands for. It offers an opportunity to critically assess a theory, to find where that theory may be oppressing to individuals and to find a way to use that theory without oppressing people. It thus also opens doors to be critical. For example, within...