Psychology & Society
Psychology & Society


Previous Issues - May 2013


This special issue of Psychology & Society on societal psychology in Norway has been put together by guest editor Joshua Phelps. Societal psychology explores individual and social processes within institutional, socio-cultural and historical contexts.The issue brings together diverse contributions by authors who have produced their research under the disciplinary boundary “samfunnspsykologi” in Norwegian higher education institutions. Topics addressed include the health benefits of dog-ownership, the act of whistleblowing and neo-liberalism, psychologists’ role in depoliticizing society, and global identity. The issue consists of the guest editor’s introduction, four main papers and four commentaries. Readers are especially encouraged to comment upon any of these contributions in the space provided on the journal’s website.



Societal Psychology in Norway
JOSHUA M. PHELPS

This introduction to the special issue discusses the choice of societal psychology as a means of organizing the main contributions. The diverse collection of theoretical and empirical papers which consist of four articles and commentaries on societal psychology in Norway are also summarized.

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“My Dog is My Best Friend”: Health Benefits of Emotional Attachment to a Pet
GØRIL ANDREASSEN, LINDA CATRINE STENVOLD & FLOYD W. RUDMIN

Norwegian dog owners completed a questionnaire about a) their emotional attachment to their dogs, b) how much they walk their dogs, c) their own physical and mental health, and d) how many sick days and how many doctor visits they had had in the previous month.  The amount of attachment to one’s dog correlated positively with activity level, physical health, and most strongly with mental health.

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Commentary: Attaching Person-Pet Attachment to Positive Psychology
FRODE STENSENG

The present commentary interprets Andreassen et al.’s findings on dog attachment and health benefits within a positive psychology framework. Specifically, the author suggests that the need aspect of self-determination theory may offer a theoretical basis for further investigations of the pet-person relationship. Also, the Dualistic Model of Passion is discussed as a perspective on pet-owners motivation to engage in pet-activities.

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Whistleblowing and Neoliberalism: Political Resistance in Late Capitalist Economy
BRITA BJØRKELO & OLE JACOB MADSEN

Political and economic ideologies have seldom been explored in the whistleblowing literature. This paper presents ways in which neoliberalism can influence the act of whistleblowing, and discusses how neoliberalism can revive the classic conflict between moral behavior and economic profitability that comes to the surface in whistleblowing behaviour.

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In Response to Bjørkelo and Madsen (2012): Whistleblowing and Crimes Against the Market
HENRY ALLEN

This contribution is a response to Bjørkelo and Madsen's article on the role of whistleblowers in neoliberalism. It engages with some of the questions that they raise with regard to the changing nature of whistleblowing acts in a neoliberal context by looking at competition policy as a case example.

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Depoliticising Society. The Strained Relationship Between Science and Politics in Psychology
OLE JACOB MADSEN

This article presents Sandra Harding’s notion of depoliticisation, and demonstrates ways in which it can help to increase awareness about psychology’s underlying assumptions. Dilemmas involving depoliticisation are depicted through three case-studies involving Norwegian psychologists that come in contact with moral and political sensitive issues.

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Depoliticization and public participation: Extending Madsen (2013)
KIM RAND-HENDRIKSEN

Madsen argues that psychologists are insufficiently aware of their own values when talking to the media, and that they may contribute to depoliticization of important societal issues. This commentary briefly traces the history of the term depoliticization before discussing how the self-interest of politicians, the media, and psychologists may align to foster an environment inducive to oversimplification and depoliticization of complex questions that belong in the purview of public debate.

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On Psychological Effects of Globalization: Development of a Scale of Global Identity
SALMAN TÜRKEN & FLOYD W. RUDMIN

Globalization creates new sociocultural environments, leads to greater interconnectedness of people across borders, and demands new ways of understanding the world. One psychological effect of globalization is on how people self-identify themselves. This paper details a development of a cross-culturally stable scale to measure global identity, the degree to which people identify with a global culture.

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Commentary: Capturing sociological concepts with psychological rigor: A commentary on Türken & Rudmin
JENNIFER SHEEHY-SKEFFINGTON

This is a commentary on the development of a measure of global identity, as presented by Türken and Rudmin in this issue. The use of rigorous psychometrics to harness a sociological construct with sensitivity to contemporary societal change is commended. Room for development of its psychological validity is highlighted, centring on issues of underlying mechanisms and good psychometric practice.

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