In 2015, a large-scale project shook academic psychology: 270 scientists tried to repeat 100 experiments and correlation studies under the same conditions as in the original. They could confirm the results in only 39 of the cases [1]. The idea that context-independent repetitions of research under „the same conditions“ always produce the same results is the basic assumption of a psychology that understands itself as being a natural science. Accordingly, the results were quickly described as a replication crisis, a crisis of the methodological self-understanding of psychology. So far, the discussion focused primarily on methodological inaccuracies; sample sizes shall be increased, data sets shall be registered in advance, and the research process shall be documented more precisely [2] – in short: if one does not live up to one’s own expectations, one would only have to pursue them more consistently.

Looking at the history of psychology, the evocation of crises is not uncommon. On the contrary, the next „crisis“ seems to be approaching: The theories that explain the famous social psychological experiments of Zimbardo and Milgram seem to be grounded in inaccurate data [3]. However, a paradigmatic change cannot be expected here either: psychology is what psychological methods measure – if the measure is inaccurate or confounding variables increase, more precise methods are needed. There is no common understanding that the application of the currently dominant methodology could limit psychological insights. The proposed changes just reproduce the same basic assumptions. Crises pass, and psychology remains in the same.

This is problematic because it reveals more than just a limited understanding of science: A psychology that understands the individual as a passive recipient, that is determined by biological, social or cognitive factors, and does not have any influence on the structures in which s/he lives, is a psychology that produces knowledge to control people. Therefore, Critical psychology has to be a critique of this psychology. We are organising this summer school to be able to understand the crisis of such a psychology and to contribute to it.

Nevertheless, more than that: Critical Psychology aims to live up to the fact that what is specific to human beings is the life in human-made societies. Life in Human-made societies also means that society is changeable: Critical Psychology has made this a core of its analytical categories. We can only understand human actions as such if we understand them not only as an adaptation but also as being resistant and productive. In this respect, Critical Psychology pursues an emancipatory concern and focuses on overcoming relationships of domination and oppression. We would like to discuss how such an academic and professional practice could contribute to lead the prevailing social conditions (further) into crisis. The summer school should be a place where we organize and network in order to acquire different psychological knowledge and exchange it. Because the smartest knowledge is useless if it is only in books and we only do occasional research.

By organizing the summer school, we reject the fragmentation of psychology into many single theories and ask for the big picture. We invite interested students, researchers and practitioners from psychology and other disciplines to join us to exchange ideas about the basic concepts of Critical Psychology, to discuss current issues and studies, to network and educate ourselves. The summer school will take place from September 7th to 11th, 2021 at the Alice Salomon Hochschule in Berlin. Participation in the Summer School of Critical Psychology is free of charge.

[1] Open Science Collaboration (2015). Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science, 349 (6251), aac4716.

[2] vgl. Epstude, Kai (2017). Towards a Replicable and Relevant Social Psychology. Social Psychology, 48 (1), pp. 1-2.

[3] Blum, B. (2018). The Lifespan of a Lie. Medium, June 7 2018: https://gen.medium.com/the-lifespan-of-a-lie-d869212b1f62


CRITICAL PSYCHOLOGY SUMMER SCHOOL 2021


!!!POSTPONED!!! Due to the Covid-19-pandemic our summer school in the planned format will be postponed to September 2021, from 7th to 11th September 2021.

Location: Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences, Alice-Salomon-Platz 5, 12627 Berlin-Hellersdorf, Public Transport: U Hellersdorf (Subway: U5, Tramway: M6, 18)

Critical Psychology Summer School is a congress to introduce the main theories and discuss current developments within critical psychology / „Kritische Psychologie“ (sometimes referred to as German critical psychology or Berlin school; see here).

Participation at our summer school is is free of charge. However: We are preparing it self-organized and are therefore dependent on donations – either in advance by bank transfer (also possible with donation receipt) or during the summer school itself.

Participation is accredited as »Bildungsurlaub« (paid educational leave for employees in Germany) (via the Alice Salomon University as recognized educational institution) – contact us here: k……@ferienuni.de.

We strive to organize day care for children. We want to make it possible according to the individual needs of participants. If you have any need for child care, please send us an email to k……@ferienuni.de

The rooms of Alice Salomon University of Applied Science are barrier-free / accessible for wheelchairs.

If you have any further questions, contact us here: k……@ferienuni.de.

Sign-up to Critical Psychology Summer School here.
The parts of our programme in English will soon be available here.
Our Call for Papers is available here (until the end of March)