History: USA 1945-68

Post WW2: US Global Dominance, The ‘Golden Age of US Experimental Social Psychology’

Cold-war motivated social psychology
(There was also a competing soviet social psychology).

Post-war US Social Psychology was generously funded (especially by the military). The use of experimental methods to social psychological questions was perceived as solution to social problems and successful operation of society.

“The nineteenth century was marked by great achievements in engineering. Advances in psychology, sociology, and physiology should lead to as striking advances in ‘humaneering’ during the twentieth century.”
(Tiffin et al., 1940, p. 23–4)

Stainton Rogers et al. (1995) called this the “humaneering mission” of social psychology.

Critcisms of the “humaneering mission”:

‘hermeneutics of social theory” e.g. Habermas, Gadame and Ricoeur
“European social psychology” (vs. US social psychology) Henri Tajfel and Serge Moscovici

Example: Gordon Allport’s individualistic SP vs. Tajfel and Moscivici’s social SP

Allport famously defined SP as:

the science aiming to ‘understand and explain how the thought, feeling, and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others.’

(1954, p. 5, in Stenner, 2017, p. 6)

Tajfel and Moscovici advocated for:

a properly social social psychology… thorough knowledge of the complete social system… recognised the influence of thoroughly social modes of thought (called ‘social representations’ in line with the French tradition above).

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