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The American ''colonization'' of Northwest European social psychology after World War II

vanStrien, PJ., 1997, In : Journal of the history of the behavioral Sciences. 33, 4, p. 349-363 15 p.

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  • PJ vanStrien

The term colonization as used in this article does not refer to the suppression of one culture by another, but to a voluntary intellectual submission, eventually resulting in a ''neo-colonial'' relationship in which, in spite of a ''decolonization'' movement, much of the dominant culture has been retained. Contrary to the traditional view, Europe had a rich social psychological literature before the Second World War, and much of this early work still is of interest for contemporary social psychology. The Netherlands is used as an example of the ''colonization'' of Northwest European social psychology after 1945. It is shown that there has been an effort on the part of the older generation to integrate the European heritage and the newer American social psychology. The younger generation, however, according to an analysis of citations, adopted American social psychology, as a guiding model soon after the Second World War. The colonization metaphor draws attention to the power aspects of knowledge transfer. The author concludes that later ''de-colonization'' does not imply a turning away from everything American, but a cross-fertilization of perspectives, leading to a truly international approach. (C) 1997 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-363
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the history of the behavioral Sciences
Volume33
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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