This paper addresses the neglected topic of freedom within contemporary psychology, specifically focusing on its practical, normative, and political dimensions. Drawing upon historical and theoretical foundations, the paper examines the shift in psychology's concern with freedom from the mid-20th century. By analyzing the contributions of influential psychologists, the paper highlights the limitations of these perspectives in capturing the experiential and developmental aspects of freedom. The paper proposes a developmental understanding of freedom, drawing upon sociocultural psychology and the insights of L. V. Vygotsky. We contend that freedom is not merely the absence of constraints but a complex interplay between agency, responsibility, and social connections. Our examination reveals that the modern emphasis on negative freedom, characterized by reduced interference and obligations, has resulted in a paradoxical situation where individuals feel overwhelmed and seek escape from freedom. By revisiting the insights of Erich Fromm and other scholars, we emphasize the need for positive freedom, which involves voluntary connections with others and active participation in shaping society. We argue that psychology's mandate should be to facilitate the exploration of alternative avenues that lead to flourishing and self-actualization, rather than prescribing a single definition or approach to freedom.
|Tidsskrift||Culture & Psychology|
|Status||Afsendt - 2023|