chapter  7
46 Pages

`Race' in European Psychology to 1940: II. Its presence and absence in British Psychology

In the received 20th-century historical image, such as it was, British Psychology from 1913 to 1940 was pervasively racist,1 primarily because of the deep Galtonian roots and eugenic connections of its strong psychometric tradition. With Britain as the world's greatest imperial power, it has also perhaps been taken for granted that most British Psychology must have been implicitly racist. Since the 1898 Cambridge Torres Straits Expedition, which initiated professional Psychological race-difference research, was also British we might again expect a continuing interest in the topic. In this chapter I examine how far the evidence justi®es this image. First, the presence of racial topics of a psychological kind in the eugenics literature is assessed. Second, the positions of the Cambridge School psychologists (W.H.R. Rivers, Frederic Bartlett and C.S. Myers) are discussed. Third, the positions of William McDougall and R.B. Cattell are considered. Fourth, I identify the main race-related themes tackled in British Psychological journals, textbooks, and other genres, before, ®nally, addressing the implications of all this. In the new Chapter 8 I have ampli-®ed some of the points made here.