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N. 1 (2022)

Dynamics of defragmentation

29 July 2022


In their statement paper, Salvatore and colleagues observe dynamics of expansion and specialization in the field of psychological theory and clinical practice, and especially the compartmentalization of professional psychology. The authors, joining a long strand of diagnostics about the fragmentation of the field, argue in favor of an effort toward a reunification of the field.
They propose three “overarching strategies: I) the identification of the ultimate causal explanation, from which phenomena could originate; II) the progressive extension of the explicative capacity of specific theories to phenomena other than those for which the theory was originally elaborated; III) the building of a metatheoretical framework providing the language to map the conceptual linkages among short theories”. The authors present these strategies as alternatives that would exclude each other and indicate that they themselves do not agree on the best way to fight against fragmentation. As readers with experience in developmental psychology and with the development of theory, we believe that this separation is based on a static flaw: understood dynamically, these three strategies may well be part of a general movement of theoretical development. We illustrate our point with a series of theoretical moves in our fields.

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