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Pavlovianism in China: Politics and differentiation across scientific disciplines in the Maoist era

Pavlovianism in China: Politics and differentiation across scientific disciplines in the Maoist era

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Title: Pavlovianism in China: Politics and differentiation across scientific disciplines in the Maoist era
Author: Gao, Zhipeng
Abstract: In the early 1950s, the Chinese communist party promoted a massive Learning-from-the-
Soviet-Union Campaign and made Pavlov’s reflexology the political-academic orthodoxy
in physiology, medical science and psychology. In the late 1950s, however, while Pavlov’s
theory was continuously advocated by physiologists and medical scientists, it suffered a
major setback in psychology as Pavlovian psychology was criticized as being bourgeois
and reactionary. How was it possible for such sheer contrast across disciplines to
take place within a few years? This paper argues that the greater ideologization of
Pavlovian psychology was conditioned by a number of factors: the Sino-Soviet relations,
the shifting Chinese communist policies, professional practices, local social conditions,
disciplinary cultures and discursive performances. This historical reconstruction
rejects a homogenizing view of the relation between politics and science in the Maoist
China, and demonstrates ways in which historical localities and dynamics ruptured the
overarching political context.
Subject: Chinese communist party
Maoist era
psychology
politics
medical science
physiology
Pavlov
Type: Article
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0073275314567436
http://journals.sagepub.com/home/hos
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ca/
URI: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0073275314567436
http://hdl.handle.net/10315/33009
Published: Sage Publications
Citation: Gao, Z. (2015). Pavlovianism in China: Politics and differentiation across scientific disciplines in the Maoist era, History of Science 53 (1), 57-85.
Date: 2015-03

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada