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Becoming a psychologist: professionalism, feminism, activism

By Jane Callaghan


In this article, I explore the ways in which discourses of ‘professionalisation’ and the psychological construction of ‘femininity’ operate to constrain and block activism amongst South African women psychology students. I use resources from discursive, postcolonial and feminist theory, to analyse extracts from a series of interviews with students about their professional training in psychology. I unpack students’ talk about professionalisation and depoliticisation. I explore the construct of the ‘caring psychologist’ as a possible alternative to the construct of the ‘professional psychologist’, articulating both its potential as a base for resistance to professionalisation, and its limitations as a subject position embedded within constraining discourses of femininity. The article forms\ud part of a larger project, that questions the appropriateness of professionalisation and western models of psychology in the South African context

Topics: BF39.9, HQ1101, BF77
Publisher: Discourse Unit, Manchester Metropolitan University
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:
Provided by: NECTAR
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