Reasonable men: Sexual harassment and norms of conduct in social psychology

Young, Jacy L and Hegarty, Peter (2019). Reasonable men: Sexual harassment and norms of conduct in social psychology. Feminism & Psychology, 29(4) pp. 453–474.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0959353519855746

Abstract

Sexual harassment has received unprecedented attention in recent years. Within academia, it has a particularly reflexive relationship with the human sciences in which sexual harassment can be both an object of research and a problematic behavior amongst those engaged in that research. This paper offers a partial history in which these two are brought together as a common object of social psychology’s culture of sexual harassment. Here we follow Haraway in using culture to capture the sense-making that psychologists do through and to the side of their formal knowledge production practices. Our history is multi-sited and draws together (1) the use of sexual harassment as an experimental technique, (2) feminist activism and research which made sexual harassment an object of knowledge in social psychology, and (3) oral history accounts of sexual harassment amongst social psychologists. By reading these contexts against each other, we provide a thick description of how sexual harassment initiates women and men into cultures of control in experimental social psychology and highlight the ethical-epistemological dilemma inherent in disciplinary practices

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