If I were an historian I’d want to be as creative, eloquent, passionate and rigorous as Kurt Danziger (Professor Emeritus at York University in Toronto). A few times a year, I return to his wonderful books, Constructing the Subject: Historical Origins of Psychological Research and Naming the Mind: How Psychology Found its Language. Here’s something to chew on from Naming the Mind:
Psychological categories have a political dimension because they are not purely descriptive but also normative. … For instance, in the prevailing Western system everyone is expected to have private motives, everyone is expected to have social attitudes, everyone is expected to fall somewhere in the distribution of intelligence. In principle, individuals could claim that these categories misrepresented their own experience, but the social and scientific pressures are such that virtually no one does. For most persons the prevailing discursive system becomes inescapable and motives, attitudes, intelligence and so on are the forms in which they experience their own subjectivity.