Abstract Anna Sieben

Thoughts on the psychologisation of everyday life on the example of attachment parenting in Germany and Turkey

The psychological concept of attachment is getting around a lot. About 70 years after the foundation of attachment theory by John Bowlby the notion of attachment is still moving around to different places changing ideas of what it means to be a good parent. One path along which attachment as a concept moves is the parenting philosophy of attachment parenting which was founded in the US by William and Martha Sears. This presentation traces attachment parenting to Germany and Turkey by analysing blogs, website contents and guidebooks. In both countries attachment is embedded in various cultural spaces and is appropriated in very different ideological, political and philosophical projects – from left-wing anti-authoritarian parenting styles to conservative, Christian or Islamic, religious frameworks.

Based on this exemplary analysis I will asks more generally how psychologisations of everyday life can be studied and conceptualized. I develop a notion of psychologisation which does not imply an unidirectional influence of psychological knowledge on folk psychology but rather looks at complex relationships between lay and professional knowledge. This perspective aims at taking the knowledge production of “folk psychologists” seriously who adapt psychological knowledge creatively. The concept of psychologisation is mainly used in the literature as a critical concept per se by linking it to neoliberalism or individualism. In this presentation I depart from this culture of critique and argue for a more empirically based and nuanced view on psychologisation. Psychologisation, from my perspective, can be a liberating project. From which standpoint can I decide whether it is emancipatory or not?

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