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  • 1.
    Skagius, Peter
    Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    “Don't worry”: Figurations of the child in a Swedish parenting advice column.2019In: History of Psychology, ISSN 1093-4510, E-ISSN 1939-0610, ISSN 1939-0610Electronic,1093-4510PrintArticle in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Materials such as popular books, magazines, and newspapers have historically been important for the circulation of psychologists’ and psychiatrists’ expertise in the public sphere. In this article, I analyze an advice column published in the Swedish parenting magazine Vi Föräldrar [Us Parents], featuring the child psychologist Malin Alfvén. Drawing on the concept of figurations (Castañeda, 2002), denoting the process of outlining and defining an entity, I show how the expert framed the child-related problems brought up in the submitted letters as transient and a normal part of children’s development. In fact, most problems were considered beneficial for both parents and the child. Instead of interpreting children’s behavior through a medical framework, Alfvén’s explanations drew on 3 naturalizing figurations of the child: as being one of several kinds of children; as going through phases and ages; and as being a unique individual. For instance, a child could be rowdy and temperamental because he was a willful kind of child, not because, as suggested by some parents, he suffered from a neuropsychiatric disorder. I conclude by contrasting these findings to the claims made by some scholars that “psy” experts have contributed to an increasing medicalization of childhood as well as to a framing of children’s development as overwhelmingly determined by parents’ care. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)

  • 2.
    Skagius, Peter
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Münger, Ann-Charlotte
    Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Sociology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Professional reinventions: Swedish psychologists, 1990-20102016In: History of Psychology, ISSN 1093-4510, E-ISSN 1939-0610, Vol. 19, no 4, p. 274-297Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Since the early 20th century, the Swedish psychology profession has undergone several changes in its essential tasks, epistemological foundations, and social roles. These changes occurred through an ongoing “tuning” with Swedish society, in which the profession strove to appear relevant to society’s concerns and problems as well as enroll others to share the profession’s goals and aims. Studying the history of the profession can thus shed light on the changing definitions and contours of the psychology profession itself as well as on the organization of the society in which it acts. This article examines the history of the Swedish psychology profession from 1990 to 2010, through an analysis of the discussions and debates taking place in the Swedish Psychological Association’s journal. The analytical framework used draws on work done within actor–network theory and science studies. We argue that the profession’s institutional connections, defining tasks, epistemological underpinnings, and social position have changed in major ways during these 2 decades. Overall, as a result of an increasingly felt insecurity, the profession has turned outward and tried to find new ways to legitimize itself to politicians, the media, patients, and customers through means such as a more economized vocabulary and novel forms of empirical research. These changes have led to a more socialized profession, now more closely tuned to other actors in Swedish society, leading to conflicts within the profession over whether this is an opportunity to better control their own destiny or if it will lead to a loss of autonomy.

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