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In the writings of ethologists and criminologists, it described a complex of factors which exist on the boundary of psychology and sociology, such as religious rituals and sexual mores McLane Hamilton, : ; Gumplowicz, [] : pt.

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On a second, more complex level, in the writings of the writings of early psychologists such as J. M Baldwin and G. Stanley Hall, the term was used to describe the developmental stage around adolescence in which childish individualism is replaced by a sense of communal duty and integration: part of that moment in adolescence when the individual entered into the life of the race Baldwin, ; Hall, : II, Such approaches, in the hands of later psychological commentators such as Freud and William McDougall, left social life dependent upon the play of biological instincts.

Left wing psychoanalysts led the resistance to the prioritising of the biological over the sociological in the explanation of individual and social behaviour. In the United States, Trigant Burrow, Karen Horney and Frankwood Williams used psychodynamic theories to sustain a radical critique of contemporary forms of social organisation Burrow, ; Horney, ; Williams, In a move that would anticipate the arguments of the Frankfurt School, they sought to demonstrate the psychopathological consequences of modern capitalism while demonstrating the foundational role of social life in the constitution of the psyche.

In Britain, these arguments received their clearest articulation in the work of the heterodox Glaswegian psychoanalyst, Ian Suttie. Indeed, it is Suttie who established the term in British psychological discourse Suttie, Writing in the s, Haeckel had claimed that the ontogenetic development of the individual recapitulated the phylogenetic development of the race. The infant shared in the primitive and magical thinking of uncivilised races whereas adults strove toward the enlightened rationality of modern Europeans.

Suttie, by contrast, argued that forms of social organisation were not predetermined by the prehistory of the race but were in fact accidents of culture Suttie, There was, he thought, nothing natural or inevitable about patriarchy or the Oedipus complex: these were in fact distortions peculiar to Western civilisation.

He looked to anthropological studies of the Arunta people of Australia to demonstrate the possibility of alternative forms of social and emotional organisation. Such studies underlined the idea that social organisation and psychological development were not predetermined by biological inheritance but contingent upon a series of historical factors.

As Suttie made clear, the psychological and the sociological could not be disentangled. This conflation of Mind and Society had two implications. First, it extended the possibility of therapy. Where Freud had insisted that the neurotic individual should be cured through the interrogation and recovery of their personal history, social psychologists and anthropologists insisted that individual personality could be remade through the creation of new forms of social organisation Thomson, : ch.

the moral high ground

Drawing on the vocabulary of contemporary neurology which itself was caught up in the language of British idealism , it became commonplace in interwar commentaries to hold up social integration as the key to psychological health Stapledon, : ; Eliot, ; Smith, Second, following on from this, the conflation of mind and society promoted an implicit hierarchy in which the social took priority over the biological Smith, Escaping the claims of Haeckelian recapitulation that had held Freud in thrall, Suttie, Burrow and others were able to argue that cultural development had superseded biological evolution.

This dual understanding of the psychosocial would assume a central place in the philosophies of the two major British writers on the concept in the s: James Halliday and Julian Huxley. From the late s until the s, James Halliday commanded a broad audience in his attempt to the marry psychosomatic diagnoses advanced by Flanders Dunbar and Franz Alexander with the new epidemiologically grounded social medicine promoted by radical physicians and political reformers Porter, The growing level of psychopathology made manifest in the insurance returns could only be countered, Halliday believed, through a wholesale social and political reformation Hayward, His analysis went beyond the individualistic models of primary and secondary gain developed in Freudian theory.

Rather he depicted such psychopathological reversals as environmental responses experienced across large sections of the population Halliday, ; Galdston, The idea of the psychosocial as a new form of environment was taken up by the British biologist, Julian Huxley. It demanded the surrender of individual aims to group ideals Huxley, Evolutionary progress had moved from the level of the biological to the cultural and its realisation was dependent upon foresight, planning and control Huxley, : ; [] : Although Huxley remained cautious about the over extension of biological analogies, as Mark Jackson shows in his contribution to this collection, it is striking how closely the next imagined stage in evolution matched the programmes of political reform sketched out by his Labour and Fabian contemporaries and his own colleagues in Political and Economic Planning P.

Marwick, It involved achievement of a higher form of personality through the rational control of biological resources. In tracing the emergence of this new conceptual apparatus and the forms of identity that it made possible, the essays included here build upon the extensive historical inquiries carried out by Nikolas Rose and other members of History of the Present Network.

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Inspired by the work of Jacques Donzelot and Michel Foucault, these writers provided provided rich and sometimes dazzling accounts of the role of psychological knowledge in the constitution of modern welfare states. They concentrated on the way that psychological and sociological language and techniques made available new forms of identity and new kinds of social relationship.

In their accounts, the rise of the psychological sciences made tangible a new domain of government populated with novel objects and forces. More recently, revisionist social historians notably Joanna Bourke and Mathew Thomson have contested the defined historical narrative put forward by Rose and others. Instead of focusing on the relationship between subjectivity and government, these authors have sought to emphasise the multiplicity of actors and the various agendas involved in the production of psychological knowledge Bourke, ; Thomson, , Whereas Rose and Miller emphasize the role of state agencies such as Child Guidance Clinics or military selection boards in the production of a new psychological framework, Thomson and Bourke stress the parts taken by autonomous groups, play and popular entertainment in creating spaces in which new identities can be articulated and new transformative techniques explored Thomson, , These spaces, as Bourke has argued, make possible new forms of embodied experience which in turn provide the grounds for new psychological categories Bourke, , While the articles in this special issue all draw upon Foucauldian and revisionist approaches, their emphasis is different.

Indebted to recent work in the history of science and medicine, their authors pay closer attention to the particular local conditions that give rise to new theories of psychosocial reconstruction, and the tools and concepts that have made such theories possible. They address four major questions: How is the psychosocial imagined? What tools are involved in making it visible?

What values are encoded in the concept and how is the relationship between the category of the psychosocial and the biological imagined? Of the contributions to this issue, two focus upon North American developments and the other five upon the United Kingdom. Mark Jackson opens the collection with a study of how Hans Selye, the champion of stress theory, extended his physiological studies to rationalise utopian schemes of social re-organisation, while Ed Ramsden explores the U.

Edgar Jones and Ian Burney both focus upon wartime investigations into the effects of aerial bombardment while Jonathan Toms and Teri Chettiar consider the role of the psychosocial in postwar mental hygiene and family therapy. All these articles emphasise how the disruption wrought by war and modernity rendered the psychosocial visible. Slum clearance, aerial bombardment or organised labour schemes, as Ramsden, Hull and Burney show, transformed the social environment into a kind of experimental laboratory in which the effects of different test conditions upon a population could be measured and compared c.

McGonigle and Kirby, These new forms of administration, as Edgar Jones makes clear, did not simply record the data upon which psychosocial theories would be grafted: they instead produced it. Wartime investigations into civilian and military neuroses elicited new patterns of somatisation -- gastric disorder in particular. As many of these studies show, the space of psychosocial analysis was opened up by the bodies and behaviour of men, women and animals under investigation.

The vast range of symptoms and behaviours recorded in the administrative machinery of the welfare state were rendered meaningful through the concept of stress. Whereas Freudian models of the unconscious have provided an imaginative mechanism for joining personal characteristics and physical disturbances to episodes in the individual past, stress escaped the individual frame. It provided a kind of conceptual glue which allowed individual failings -- whether physical, mental, social or intellectual -- to be joined to broader transformations in society or the environment.

Stress is thus a productive concept allowing any number of experiences, institutions and events to be joined together to create a new landscape of meaning. As seen in our discussion of Huxley and Halliday, a hierarchical vision of the relationship between culture and biology was implicit in the concept of the psychosocial.

The concept also encoded a normative model of human relationships. This model, as Toms and Chettiar make clear, drew heavily on mid twentieth-century ideas of the family.


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Family provided a useful resource for connecting emotion and power, for setting out criteria for development and for thinking through the pathological or enabling effects of dependence and independence. Family had come under close psychiatric scrutiny during the war, as the evacuation of children and the separation of couples through mobilisation constituted a kind of natural experiment.

Although the idea of psychosocial health was predicated upon the idea of the family, it was, as Chettiar demonstrates, a historically specific idea rooted in twentieth-century notions of the companionate marriage and of equality c. Langhammer, In the writings of Suttie, Huxley and others, the concept of the psychosocial had been used to limit the claims of biology. It allowed for a vision of human progress to be developed which overrode ideas of racial evolution and claims of the superiority of particular ethnic groups sustained by these ideas.

By the s, however, this attempt to use the psychosocial to limit the jurisdiction of biology had all but failed. As Mark Jackson shows in his essay on Selye, the languages of biology and sociology remained closely bound, as scientists and social commentators turned to examples from physiology and cell biology to imagine and describe complex social processes.

And it was this same metaphorical co-dependence that opened up once again the possibility of re-describing social relationships in biological terms. By the early s, ethologists and evolutionary psychologists were articulating a new understanding of biological politics that would in the decades that followed eclipse the claims of the psychosocial c. Harraway, ; Segerstrale, This vision of biology was itself very different from the version that had developed in the interwar period. It took the material of the psychosocial -- questions of rank, hierarchy, dependence and personal distress -- and recast it in biological terms.

And through this process, it made available a new set of signs and objects through which society, health and human relationships could be imagined. The return to biological objects such as cortisol counts or FMRI scans to measure social relationships in some ways marks the end of the psychosocial project.

Certainly contemporary schemes of psychological welfare, such as those developed around the happiness agenda and wellbeing economics championed in Western democracies, increasingly rely upon biological models of emotion and mental disorder to ground their programmes.

A concept which had been used to mark the limits of biological explanation in the years after the Second World War is now itself imagined in biological terms.

enter He has published on the history of dreams, Pentecostalism, demonology, cybernetics, and the relations between psychiatry and primary care. His current research examines the rise and political implications of psychiatric epidemiology in modern Britain.

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National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. History of the Human Sciences. Hist Human Sci. Rhodri Hayward. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Email: ku. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Keywords: Psychosocial, social psychology, psychoanalysis, planning, Suttie, Huxley, Halliday.

Halliday and Huxley: The psychosocial and the limits of biology From the late s until the s, James Halliday commanded a broad audience in his attempt to the marry psychosomatic diagnoses advanced by Flanders Dunbar and Franz Alexander with the new epidemiologically grounded social medicine promoted by radical physicians and political reformers Porter, The historiography of the psychosocial In tracing the emergence of this new conceptual apparatus and the forms of identity that it made possible, the essays included here build upon the extensive historical inquiries carried out by Nikolas Rose and other members of History of the Present Network.


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Imagining the psychosocial While the articles in this special issue all draw upon Foucauldian and revisionist approaches, their emphasis is different. The values of the psychosocial As seen in our discussion of Huxley and Halliday, a hierarchical vision of the relationship between culture and biology was implicit in the concept of the psychosocial. The psychosocial and the return of biology In the writings of Suttie, Huxley and others, the concept of the psychosocial had been used to limit the claims of biology. References Ahrenfeldt R. After two numbers he resigned the editorship, being unable to devote so much time and trouble without financial advantage, but continued to contribute articles to succeeding issues.

During he edited "The Tablet". The name was chosen because Dublin was a centre of Catholic culture , and it echoed the title of the flourishing Edinburgh Review , but the journal was actually published in London : quarterly at first, then monthly. Early issues had a succession of editors, irregular publication dates, and a lack of subscribers -which caused financial difficulties. However, with Henry Bagshawe taking over as editor in October , things stabilized. From the first, Wiseman was determined that the review avoid extreme political views.

Charles William Russell was an early and frequent contributor and drafted a number of his colleagues at Maynooth to contribute articles as well. According to Andrew Hilliarde Atteridge, writing in the Catholic Encyclopedia , "The review was intended to provide a record of current thought for educated Catholics and at the same time to be an exponent of Catholic views to non-Catholic inquirers.

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It was in the August of that an article by Wiseman on caught the attention of John Henry Newman. It was a turning point for Newman and for the course of the Oxford Movement. During this time Wiseman had to deal with tensions between the old or longtime established Catholics and new Anglo-Catholic converts, and sought to maintain a balance in the type and variety of articles printed.

After the Vatican Council, editor J. Headley, a Benedictine, took a more temperate line. With the wealth of publications then coming into print, it was no longer practical to engage in debate, and Headley was comfortable tracking trends and to provide a forum for leading minds to infuse the spirit of Catholicism into literature, history, politics, and art Later contributors to the magazine included Don Luigi Sturzo , [5] E. Watkin , and Barbara Ward.