Preface – Psychology in India, Volume 3

Preface

The fifth ICSSR survey of psychology hopes to reflect psychological knowledge that has been already generated as well as the consolidation of recent disciplinary concerns in psychological research in the country. The research surveys instituted by the ICSSR are meant to offer periodical appraisal of the developments and changes in research in social science disciplines in India. Dr D. R. Gadgil, the first chairman of the ICSSR, considered it important for the promotion of social sciences in the country. It was decided to have research surveys in seven disciplines: economics, political science, geography, psychology, sociology, social anthropology, and education. It is a matter of great satisfaction that a fifth round of survey has been conducted in the field of psychology.

A perusal of the volumes of past surveys testifies to important changes in the content, style and concerns of this venture. It is not only the quantum of work but also the themes that reflect such a change. Professor S. K. Mitra, the editor of the first survey, stated that the survey was meant for recognizing the trends, indicating future directions of growth and raising the quality of research. Accordingly, trend reports in nine fields—clinical, developmental, educational, experimental, industrial, military, personality, physiological and comparative, and social psychology were prepared. There was also a review chapter on methodology and research technology. These reports provided an exhaustive listing of Indian works in psychology up to 1969. Professor Mitra noted that ‘creative work is rare; we are at the consumer end in respect of new knowledge and its application’ (p. xviii). The emphasis was on scientific psychology and to develop the image of the new science. But he was confident that ‘psychology in India has developed to a point where it is almost ready to take up new challenges and attain greater heights of excellence in research’ (p. xxxii).

The second survey entitled A Survey of Research in Psychology, 1971–76 (Bombay: Popular), edited by Professor Udai Pareek, was published in two volumes in 1980 and 1981. Its thirteen chapters covered psychological theory and research methods, culture and personality, developmental processes, deviance and pathology, counselling and therapy, communication and influence processes, organizational dynamics, psychology of work, political processes and behaviour, environmental psychology and social issues (i.e., poverty, inequality, population, family planning). The survey made a qualitative departure from the first one by making the review thematic and reflective. Professor Pareek observed signs of crisis in the discipline. To him, the confinement of research interests to a narrow field provided a false sense of identity. He identified isolation, fragmentation, low application and lack of mutual learning as major problems in the discipline. He proposed social and practical relevance as the touchstone and maintained that a value-free position is only a myth and self-deception. He declared that ‘only by sticking our neck out can we achieve relevance for psychology’ (p. 815).

The third survey entitled Psychology in India: The State of The Art (New Delhi: Sage), was published in 1988 under the editorship of Professor Janak Pandey. Comprising three volumes and a total of seventeen chapters, the survey focused on new directions that psychology was taking and the areas to which the new subdisciplines were being applied. The first volume focused on personality and mental processes with chapters on psychological assessment, developmental psychology, personality, stress and anxiety, perceptual and cognitive processes, and higher mental processes. The second covered basic and applied psychology with chapters on attitudes and social cognition, applied social psychology, inter-group relations and social tensions, dynamics of rural development, and the social psychology of education. The third volume discussed organizational behaviour and mental health with chapters on job attitudes, organizational effectiveness, mental health, mental illnesses and their treatments. In the last chapter of this volume, Professor Pandey identified the emerging trends in psychology in India, which included outgrowing an alien framework, identifying the roots of psychology in Indian thought and tradition, assessment in socio-cultural contexts, psychology for socio-economic change and national development, cross-cultural psychology, and partnership in research.

The fourth survey was also undertaken by Professor Janak Pandey, which covered the period from 1983 to 1992. It was entitled Psychology in India Revisited: Developments in the Discipline (New Delhi: Sage), and published in three volumes. Volume 1 focused on physiological foundation and human cognition and had chapters on animal behaviour, the physiological foundations of behaviour, perceptual, learning and memory processes, intelligence and cognitive processes, and language behaviour and processes. Volume 2 discussed personality and health psychology with chapters on consciousness studies, child and adolescent development, personality, self and life events, psychology of gender, health psychology, mental health, illness and therapy. Volume 3 dealt with the domains of applied social and organizational psychology with chapters on attitudes, social cognition, justice, social values, poverty and deprivation, environment and behaviour, motivation, and leadership and human performance. The last chapter by Professor Pandey examined the movement towards an indigenous discipline. He remarked that the call for indigenization has to go beyond the reactive phase and should not remain a mere rhetoric. He invited the development of alternative perspectives, with greater emphasis on an emancipative spirit and the indigenization of methods.

In recent years, increasingly greater involvement has been seen with regard to historical sensibility, appreciation of the reciprocal relationship between culture and psychology, the development of alternative paradigms for constructing reality, the consolidation of indigenization, cultural-psychological explorations, and the use of qualitative methods. These efforts are making psychology a multivoiced subject. When the ICSSR's Research Committee decided to organize a fifth round of surveys and entrusted this task to me, I found it a great challenge. Fortunately, the past surveys were undertaken by stalwarts in this field and had created a strong foundation for organizing this endeavour.

An editorial advisory committee consisting of Professors Udai Pareek, Jai B. P. Sinha, Janak Pandey, K. D. Broota, Ajit K. Mohanty and Aruna Broota and me as Chief Editor was set up by the ICSSR. It deliberated on the themes and helped identify the contributors. Keeping the goals of survey in view, active scholars with access to research material and specializations in the respective areas were selected. It was decided to have a new set of authors from diverse institutions and universities to do the review. The committee decided that each chapter should provide a comprehensive review of the major trends in research during a decade covering the span of 1993–2003. However, the new areas had no time constraints and some amount of overlap was inevitable. In particular, attention was paid to indigenous concepts, methods and applications that are culturally relevant. Relating research findings to the eco-cultural context and taking an analytical and critical approach was emphasized.

The present survey entitled Psychology in India was made more comprehensive by including many new themes such as indigenous psychology, self and identity, psychoanalytic studies, methodology, motivation and affective processes, psychology of disabled people and geropsychology.

The chapters of fifth survey are organized in four volumes, each of which begins with an overarching introduction that summarizes the scope of the chapters included within a particular volume.

The first volume subtitled Basic Psychological Processes and Human Development, has six chapters. The first chapter on ‘Biological and Ecological Bases of Behaviour’ by Raghubir Singh Pirta presents an account of the work done in the area of biological and environmental processes involved in shaping psychological phenomena, The second chapter is on ‘Human Development: Contexts and Processes’ by Neerja Sharma and Nandita Chaudhary. The third chapter by Prakash Padakannaya is on ‘Language and Communication’. Chapter 4 by Anupam Nath Tripathi and Nandita Babu is called ‘Cognitive Processes’. The next chapter is titled ‘Affective and Motivational Processes, and is by Adesh Agarwal. The last chapter, ‘Trends in Personality Research: An Overview’, is by J. M. Jerath and Anjum Sibia.

Volume 2 is subtitled Social and Organizational Processes and has six chapters. The first two chapters are on social-psychological processes: ‘Understanding the Social World: Issues and Challenges’ by Purnima Singh and ‘Social Psychological Perspectives on Self and Identity’ by Arvind K. Mishra, A. Bimol Akoijam and Girishwar Misra. The next two are on organizational behaviour: ‘Individual and Group-level Processes in Organizations’ by Arvind K. Sinha and ‘Culture, Institutions, and Organizations in India’ by Rajen K. Gupta and Abinash Panda. Chapter 5 is on ‘Dynamics of Schooling’, where Ashok K. Srivastava has examined the psychological aspects of school education. The last chapter of the volume is on ‘Psychology and Societal Development’ by Rekha Singhal and P. S. N. Tiwari, and deals with society-level processes.

Volume 3, subtitled Clinical and Health Psychology, again has six chapters. Chapter 1 is on ‘Clinical Psychology’. In this chapter, Prabal K. Chattopadhyay describes research trends in the study of various disorders and brings into focus the problems and prospects in the field of clinical psychology. In the next chapter, Anita Ghai has dealt with issues related to ‘The Psychology of Disabled People’. ‘Geropsychology’ is explored by P. V. Ramamurti and D. Jamuna. The chapter on ‘Health Psychology: Progress and Challenges’ by Sagar Sharma and Girishwar Misra presents a critical appraisal of the developments in health psychology. Kiran Rao has discussed ‘Psychological Interventions: From Theory to Practice’. In the last chapter, Ajit K. Dalal has examined the work done in the area of ‘Psychosocial Interventions for Community Development’.

In volume 4 entitled Theoretical and Methodological Developments, Chapter 1 by Honey Oberoi Vahali discusses ‘Landscaping a Perspective: India and the Psychoanalytic Vista’. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the important psychoanalytic contributions and writings coming out of India. Chapter 2, ‘Indian Indigenous Concepts and Perspectives: Developments and Future Possibilities’ by S. K. Kiran Kumar examines the efforts towards developing indigenous perspectives in psychology. Chapter 3 by U. Vindhya, titled ‘Issues of Gender in Psychology: Traversing from Sex Differences to Quality of Women's Lives’, discusses concerns of gender in psychological research in India. Chapters 4 and 5 on ‘Qualitative Methods in Psychology: An Overview’ by Anand Prakash and ‘Quantitative Methods in Psychology’ by Damodar Suar and Biranchi N. Puhan present an appraisal of the methodological developments in psychological research in India during the last one decade. Chapter 6, ‘Psychology in India: Retrospect and Prospect’ by Girishwar Misra and Manasi Kumar brings into focus some critical perspectives on the developments in theory, research and practice in psychology in India.

In planning this survey, a number of scholars were consulted and the latest resource materials and developments in the discipline were taken into account. The ICSSR invited the authors and they submitted their outlines, which were discussed in the editorial advisory committee. Detailed instructions were prepared to organize the review process and writing of the chapters. In the third and fourth surveys, Professor Janak Pandey had meticulously developed the relevant procedural details for authors to undertake the survey work. Those details proved very helpful in organizing the present survey. As an editor, I also interacted with other senior colleagues including Professors L. B. Tripathi, R. C. Tripathi and M. N. Palsane regarding the coverage and modalities of the survey and received advice and suggestions. In order to have wider consultation, the chapter outlines were circulated among peers and comments were sought. Once a chapter was ready, it was sent for review to at least three peers, one of the authors of the present survey and two other scholars. In this process, reviews by scholars from related disciplines were also sought.

The contributors and I owe the greatest debt to the following colleagues who gave us thoughtful and constructive reviews of individual chapters: Professors Adesh Agarwal, S. Anandlakshmy, H. S. Asthana, Shanti Auluck, Bharati Baveza, Shalini Bharat, Aruna Broota, K. D. Broota, Karuna Chanana, Ajit K. Dalal, Ishwar Dayal, A. B. Dey, R. Govinda, Uday Jain, Sudhir Kakar, Lilavati Krishnan, Manas K. Mandal, Manju Mehta, Ramesh C. Misra, Ajit K. Mohanty, Ashis Nandy, Vaisnha Narang, Usha Nayar, Janak Pandey, Anand C. Paranjpe, Udai Pareek, Madan N. Palsane, R. S. Pirta, B. N. Puhan, K. Ramkrishna Rao, T. S. Saraswathi, Manisha Sen, M. B. Sharan, R. C. Sharma, Sagar Sharma, Sridhar Sharma, Mewa Singh, T. B. Singh, J. B. P. Sinha, Damodar Suar, P. S. N. Tiwari, K. N. Tripathi and U. Vindhya.

On the initiative of the ICSSR, a National Workshop for Fifth ICSSR Survey of Psychological Research was held on 23–24 October 2006 in Delhi. It was attended by a large group of scholars. In addition to the authors, a number of scholars acted as discussants and gave comments on individual chapters. They included professors Jai B. P. Sinha, Udai Pareek, Janak Pandey, K. D. Broota, Ajit K. Mohanty, Aruna Broota, Sudhakar Rath, Ashum Gupta, Kanika T. Bhal, L. Sam Manickam, Navdeep Singh Tung, K. Ravichandra, Jyoti Verma, Dr Minati Panda, Dr Sunil D. Gaur and Dr Preeti Kapur. The intellectual exchange during the meeting was lively, stimulating and constantly provocative. The chapters in the volumes of survey are revised versions of presentations made at this workshop, and it is hoped that, as a result, a sense of engagement of the chapters of these volumes with relevant issues will be apparent to readers.

This survey was a unique cooperative venture requiring coordination at and across several levels. As an editor, I worked as a mover and tried to pool in all the resources, academic capital and assistance. The survey is truly a collective reflection of our joint efforts, and in this regard I first and foremost gratefully acknowledge the constant support and cooperation I received from the contributors to the four volumes.

The programme was initiated in 2002 by Professor B. R. Panchmukhi, the then Chairman of the ICSSR and Sri Bhaskar Chatterjee, Member Secretary, who took special interest in this project. Former Chairman Professor Andre Beteille provided encouragement and suggested the idea to have a national workshop before finalizing the manuscript. Member Secretary Professor T. C. Anant provided the necessary support to complete the survey and facilitated the work in many ways. Professor Javeed Alam, the present Chairman, took keen interest in the publication of these volumes and kindly agreed to write a foreword for the survey. I extend my sincere thanks to all of them.

The team of the ICSSR under the leadership of Dr Ranjit Sinha, Director, ICSSR Survey Programme, has been very helpful in organizing this project. In particular Sri Ajay K. Gupta, Deputy Director (Publications), Dr Sarah K. John, Deputy Director, Dr P. P. Pandey, Assistant Director, Mrs Shakti and Ms Alka Srivastava facilitated the project by prompt response and action at their end. I am indebted to them for their dedicated assistance. This project could not have succeeded without their sustained contributions.

The Department of Psychology at the University of Delhi provided all necessary support to carry out the project. I thank my students (Vipanchi, Shivantika, Sujeet, Ravipriya, Surabhi, Abhijit, Indiwar and Shachipriya), colleagues (Anand Prakash, Sunil D. Gaur, Honey Oberoy and Nandita Babu), and supporting staff at the University for their cooperation and assistance on this project. They in many ways made efforts to see that the various aspects of this project came to fruition.

I take this opportunity to record my deep sense of gratitude to my wife Madhuri Misra. She deserves my gratitude for the hours which this work has taken me away from family matters. She provided the motivation and environment for all my work.

We hope that students, researchers and professionals will find the survey useful and we look forward to receiving feedback from the readers. It is expected that these volumes will stimulate thinking and encourage engagement with innovative ideas and practices in research and professional practice.

 

Girishwar Misra