A Critical Interpretative Psychology Of Gender

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Published In

Routledge International Handbook of Theoretical And Philosophical Psychology


We introduce a critical interpretative psychology that we came to embrace as researchers studying women and gender. This psychology arose from a critical scrutiny of the discipline’s conventional assumptions and modes of gathering and interpreting data. We open with a historical overview of psychology’s assertions about women’s “nature” and feminists’ dismantling of those assertions. We offer a critical assessment of psychology’s unceasing quest to find the “real” differences between women and men. We cast a critical eye on several prevailing assumptions and empirical approaches in conventional psychology. In so doing, we reiterate long-standing criticisms by philosophers and historians of science, critical psychologists, and feminist scholars. We then describe critical interpretative psychology. This way of doing psychology attends to whole persons, their relationships, and the sociocultural contexts of inequality in which they are situated. It attends to their intentions, aspirations, and moral visions, and to the ways they make sense of their lives. Such a way of doing psychology can help psychologists who wish to pursue goals of social justice.

Published By



B. D. Slife, S. C. Yanchar, and F. C. Richardson

This document is currently not available here.