Ethics, Power, and Oppression in Psychology

Instructor: J Freyd (with participation of P Birrell)
3 credits
pass/no pass only
instructors permission required
prerequisites: none
Mondays, 1:30-3:30, SPRING 1996

We will consider empirical and theoretical works on ethical issues in psychology, with a special focus on the dynamics of professional power, and the role of psychology in responding to, reducing, creating, and/or maintaining the oppression of people and of knowledge.

We will read analyses and critiques of current practice (including professional behaviors and duties in public and higher education, in science and scholarship, in mental health services, and in forensic and legal involvement), and we will discuss the current and ideal role of graduate training in addressing these issues. We will consider research on the effects of ideologies on behavior, and the effects of diagnosis, labeling, language, image, and symbol on mental representation and processing, attitudes, and behavior. We will consider the ethics of power and oppression related to diversity issues (including gender, sexual orientation, race, class, and ethnicity), as well as historical and cultural antecedents to the current situation. A special focus will be the use and misuse of psychological science in social and political controversies, and appropriate interactions with the media regarding these controversies. We will apply our behavioral science tools to analyze the ways in which power is used and misused, and the ways in which we can, through research, education, and practice, appropriately and ethically reduce oppression and the human suffering it causes.

Readings by Week

Jennifer Freyd, 18 Sept 95