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Katie’s research in this area focuses on the social and cultural effects of the spread of psychological knowledge and therapeutic discourses, both in historically and in the present. She has conducted significant research on the rise of therapeutic culture in Australia and has advanced theorisation of the influence of psychological discourses through analysis of their complex and contradictory effects. Her recent work has explored the role of psychology in educational reform and its impact on changing understandings of problems of childhood. She is currently exploring the impact of psychology in changing conceptualizations of childhood.

Select Publications

Katie Wright. The rise of the therapeutic society: psychological knowledge & the contradictions of cultural change. Washington, DC: New Academia, 2011 (2012 Raewyn Connell Prize, Special Commendation, TASA)

Katie Wright. ‘Challenging institutional denial: psychological discourse, therapeutic culture and public inquiries’. Journal of Australian Studies 42.2 (2018): 177-190

Katie Wright. ‘Inventing the normal child: psychology, delinquency and the promise of early intervention‘. History of the Human Sciences 30.5 (2017): 46-67

Katie Wright& Emma Buchanan. ‘Educational psychology: developments and contestations’, in T Fitzgerald (ed), International handbook of historical studies in education: debates, tensions and directions, Springer, Dordrecht (in press, 2019).

Julie McLeod & Katie Wright. ‘What does wellbeing do? An approach to defamiliarize keywords in youth studies’. Journal of Youth Studies 19.6 (2016): 776-792

Katie Wright. ‘Student wellbeing and the therapeutic turn in education’. Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist 31.2 (2014): 141-152

Julie McLeod & Katie Wright. ‘Education for citizenship: transnational expertise, curriculum reform and psychological knowledge in 1930s Australia’, History of Education Review 42.2 (2013): 170-184

Katie Wright. ‘“To see through Johnny and to see Johnny through”: the guidance movement in interwar Australia’. Journal of Educational Administration and History 44. 4 (2012): 315-335

Julie McLeod & Katie Wright. ‘The talking cure in everyday life: gender, generations and friendship’. Sociology 43.1 (2009): 122–139

Katie Wright. ‘Engendering a therapeutic ethos: modernity, masculinity and nervousness’. Journal of Historical Sociology 22.1 (2009): 84–107

Katie Wright. ‘Theorizing therapeutic culture: past influences, future directions’. Journal of Sociology 44.4 (2008): 321–336

Katie Wright. ‘Mum’s the word: therapy culture and maternal ambivalence’. In Petra Bueskens, ed. Mothering and psychoanalysis: clinical, sociological & feminist perspectives, 445–461. Bradford, Ontario: Demeter Press, 2014

Katie Wright. ‘Therapy culture’. In Peter Beilharz & Robert Manne, eds. Reflected Light: La Trobe Essay, 302–312. Black Inc: Melbourne, 2006