City Research Online

Psy-expertise, therapeutic culture and the politics of the personal in development

Klein, E. & Mills, C. (2017). Psy-expertise, therapeutic culture and the politics of the personal in development. Third World Quarterly, 38(9), pp. 1990-2008. doi: 10.1080/01436597.2017.1319277


Expertise stemming from the psy disciplines is increasingly and explicitly shaping international development policy and practice. Whilst some policy makers see the use of psy expertise as a new way to reduce poverty, increase economic efficiency, and promote wellbeing, others raise concerns that psychocentric development promotes individual over structural change, pathologises poverty, and depoliticises development. This paper specifically analyses four aspects of psy knowledge used in contemporary development policy: child development/developmental psychology, behavioural economics, positive psychology, and global mental health. This analysis illuminates the co-constitutive intellectual and colonial histories of development and psy-expertise: a connection that complicates claims that development has been psychologized; the uses and coloniality of both within a neoliberal project; and the potential for psychopolitics to inform development.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Third World Quarterly on 12 May 2017, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Psy-expertise, child development, behaviouralisation, global mental health, therapeutic culture
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
Text - Accepted Version
Download (493kB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login