Conclusion

In 1974, David Ingleby asked a question still relevant today: ‘for whom does the psychologist work?’ (Ingleby, 1974). And in this vein, today we might ask ‘for whom does educational psychology work’? Does it work to obfuscate the political economy of children’s lives, to reconfigure the symptoms of poverty and austerity as individual disorders? Or might it work in the opposite direc- tion—to make connections between inner worlds and the contexts in which they are constituted? So, what can educational psychology do? EPs can be, and are, part of groups such as PAA. In their daily work, services might think differently about what records they keep and what statistics they generate, recording indicators of poverty and ‘austerity ailments’, instead of solely indi?vidualised diagnoses. Pathways for these records to travel to and be seen by local councillors and government should be established or consolidated. Links between EPs and activists, charities and campaigning groups may also be important—on an individual family level to help people access much needed food banks and childcare, but always linked to wider political campaigning for systemic change.

Thus, a core requirement is thinking through what educational psychology aims to achieve and the mechanisms to employ it, so that it does not construct impoverished children and families as passive or pathologised recipients. The architecture of this kind of practice and policy needs to foster agency, security, connectedness, meaning and trust (McGrath, Griffin, & Mundy, 2015); needs to constantly move between the psychological and the political; and needs not to stigmatise, individualise, pathologise and psychologise those living in poverty. This would be to recognise that not only are many EPs in a unique position to see the everyday psychological impact of austerity measures but also that, furthermore, ethical practice demands that psychologists understand this psychological impact, as well as psychological knowledge itself, within the political economy in which it is embedded.

 
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