Welcome to the Interdisciplinary Psychology Blog !
This blog is (mostly) written by members of the MA Interdisciplinary Psychology Course Team at Leeds Metropolitan University. Interdisciplinary Psychology looks beyond the conventional boundaries of Psychology – drawing insights about self and mind from Philosophy, Theology, Cultural Studies, Art and Literature. This approach has its roots in the ‘crisis’ of Psychology in the 1970’s, when many Psychologists became dissatisfied with laboratory and experiment based approaches, which seemed inadequate to capture the richness of human experience, and which reduced consciousness to a set of numbers – IQ tests, personality measurements and so on.
Human beings do not live in laboratories, but in societies – with shared languages, traditions, routines and rituals. These shared networks of meaning define what consensus reality is, what is considered normal, and what is labelled as ‘marginal’ or ‘deviant’. And these shared meanings change over time, as societies change. For example the idea that individuals have separate, unchanging ‘personalities’ from birth is commonly accepted in Western societies, but would make no sense to indigenous people in Ecuador. This concept of ‘personality’ is itself a product of Western psychology. So mainstream Psychology has not just studied the self, but altered our understanding of what the self is. As traditional approaches to Psychology were a product of a particular time and place – postwar Europe and North America – so they reflected many of its prejudices. For example, homosexuality was classified as a mental illness until the early 1970’s. For Interdisciplinary Psychologists, the consciousness and sense of self of oppressed or marginalised groups (women, ethnic minorities, those labelled as ‘mentally ill’) are as much part of reality as ‘normal’ consciousness. Interdisciplinary Psychology takes a critical, global approach, uncovering these alternative ways of understanding the world and the self, both within, and beyond contemporary UK society.
So, in a nutshell, Interdisciplinary Psychology is,
“A perspective on mind, self and society which goes beyond the traditional disciplinary, historical and geographical boundaries of Western Psychology’.
We hope this blog will be of interest to anyone interested in a new way of looking at Psychology, and also to those who would like to consider studying Interdisciplinary Psychology at Master’s level. Leeds Metropolitan University is currently the only University in the UK to offer this MA programme.