17th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology (ISTP)

Demuth, C. (Speaker)

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


Workshop: Language in Psychology – Language for Psychology
Dr. Marie-Cécile Bertau [chair]
Cor Baerveldt
James Cresswell
Carolin Demuth
Andres Haye
Andrea Karsten
Antonia Larrain

Dialogical, discursive and semiotic approaches in (cultural) psychology in recent years have challenged to mentalistic assumptions of mainstream cognitive psychology in favour of approaches that emphasize the relational nature of human subjectivity and personhood. However, although the role of language is pivotal in each of those approaches, the question of language itself remains scarcely explored. Following up on earlier collaboration, the conveners to this workshop seek to examine language as its own topic—in contrast to 1) a mere indicator of psychological processes; or to 2) a transparent medium to look through to see “Mind’s workings”. The aim is to make language psychology visible as a genuine field of research beyond the prevalent individualistic and cognitive focus; to lead language beyond an understanding as tool, and to reach into the dialogically founded pragmatics of language. Such a language philosophy takes the complex, embodied, multivoiced and multipositioned language event as starting point for the formation and workings of psychological processes. This pragmatic starting point leads psychology generally into praxis, challenging both conventional psychological methodologies and abstractive-mentalistic endeavours, laying the ground for dynamic-sensitive empirical studies and theory. Particularly, it means to take serious the de-entification of language present in Humboldt and echoed by Soviet scholars in the 1930s – although not achieved completely in the psychology of this time. Our conviction is that psychology needs a clearly articulated notion of language, which is non-individualistic and non-mentalistic – not the least to back and strengthen psychological discourse research. The consequence of this pragmatic approach touches obviously upon the notion of the subject; this is non-individualistic but dialogically related, not a self-contained and self-controlled agent but a “passive-active agent”. In this view, language is seen as a dynamic activity in which symbolic forms of expression and the voices of concretely positioned persons mediate psychological processes.
Period21 Aug 201725 Aug 2017
Event title17th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology (ISTP)
Event typeConference
LocationTokyo, Japan
Degree of RecognitionInternational