SPSSI Leaders: Collective Biography and the Dilemma of Value-Laden Action and Value-Neutral Research

Authors

  • Rhoda Unger

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    1. Brandeis University
      Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Rhoda Unger, Women's Studies Research Center, MS 079, Epstein, 515 South Street, Waltham, MA 02454 [e-mail: unger@brandeis.edu].
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Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Rhoda Unger, Women's Studies Research Center, MS 079, Epstein, 515 South Street, Waltham, MA 02454 [e-mail: unger@brandeis.edu].

Abstract

This study provides a collective biography ofSociety for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI)'s most recent cohort of leaders and compares their characteristics with those of previous generations of leaders. Unlike previous collective biographies, I use responses to an e-mail questionnaire from 90 individuals who have been elected toSPSSIoffice, most since 1986. I examine the social categories to which individuals belong; educational experiences; the branch of psychology in which they received their PhD; and the role of collegial networks in the recruitment of leaders. I also introduce an historical perspective by comparing data on early and more recent cohorts ofSPSSIleaders. Finally, through this study I explore possible links between leaders’ characteristics and their reasons for becoming involved inSPSSI. In particular, I examine relationships between the variables previously discussed and leaders’ reasons for being involved inSPSSI, with special attention to differential views about the role of values in research.

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