Compare and Contrast Functionalism and Structuralism

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Chapter

1

What is social psychology?
LEARNING OUTCOMES
When you have finished studying this chapter, you should be able to:

1 Outline the main differences between experimental and critical approaches to social psychology. 2 Describe the three main ‘metaphysical battles’ between them. 3 Trace the origins of social psychology through the work of William McDougall and
William James, and the contributions made by Völkerpsychologie and crowd psychology.

4 Describe the two contrasting images of ‘the person’ in social psychology. 5 Identify the roots of and describe the historical development of both experimental and critical social psychology.

6 Describe the main elements of Modernism and Postmodernism, and how these relate
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In those days, she said, a lot of men’s violence towards women was not really treated as a crime. The police in the USA and the UK usually treated attacks like this – even very violent ones – as ‘domestic’ incidents and hence private matters. Worse, common wisdom at that time assumed that any woman stupid or brazen enough to be out on the streets at 3 o’clock in the morning was to be regarded as ‘fair game’. According to Cherry, this was not so much about ‘bystander apathy’ in general but, rather, a specific form of ‘turning a blind eye’ to something that is ‘none of your business’, a very different kind of explanation.

Going critical?
So why am I starting this book with this story, you may ask? My answer is that I wanted get you interested, to draw you in, right from the start, to thinking critically – cynically, even – about social psychology and what it does. The complex and fascinating story of the story of the rape and murder of Kitty Genovese opens up all sorts of cans of worms – which is what this book is all about. Do not expect to find in this book any simple, factual account of ‘what makes people tick’ as discovered by social psychologists. You will, I hope, get a good, basic grounding in the key

WHAT IS SO CIAL PSYCHOLO GY?

5

topics, methods and approaches that have been taken by mainstream social psychologists, predominantly by means of experimental studies used to test their theories of
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