Postgraduate Conference 2012

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The Department of Psychology held its annual Postgraduate Conference, with Dr. Desmond Painter as the keynote presenter. Dr Painter is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University. He has published numerous articles in the areas of critical psychology and the social psychology of language. He was co-editor, with Clifford van Ommen, of "Interiors: A history of psychology in South Africa"; and with Athanasios Marvakis and Leo Moss of a special edition of "Theory & Psychology" on the legacy of German Critical Psychologist Klaus Holzkamp. He maintains a critical psychology blog called "Southern Psychologies" and regularly contributes opinion pieces and book reviews to the Afrikaans media. Currently he is trying to change the world one Facebook status update at a time.


Dr Painter’s keynote lecture entitled, "Everyday Psychology / Psychology Every day", explores the dialectic of psychology and everyday life. He explained that there are two reasons why he adopted this title. The first reason is due to the significance and the category of the everyday in psychology and his attempt to restore interest in critical psychology. The second reason is to come to terms with the role psychology plays in every day life. Dr Painter spoke about how the every day is riddled with contradictions, but how this needs to be retained in its complexity without being reduced to psychology. The challenge is to make psychology more relevant to everyday life without limiting this life to an object of psychological knowledge. Psychology needs to be continuously informed by the richness, complexity and ambiguous nature of everyday life.


In concluding his presentation Dr Painter said that this type of critique of everyday life is not a romantic critique of common community, but that it should be thought of dialectically. On the one hand many of the things that are introduced by psychology might have the effect of alienating people from their productive capacity. However, on the other hand these things may be a means of resisting alienation through new forms of sociality.