A Menagerie of Imposters and Truth-Tellers: Diederik Stapel and the crisis in Psychology

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Abstract

The large-scale fraud of social psychologist Diederik Stapel has fuelled debates about the state of the discipline and the need for reform. Stapel became a tool to think with in the crisis in psychology. In the process a collection of imposters and truth-tellers were constructed and performed, each representing a different relation to the truth. Whereas Stapel was denounced as a cynical con man by his colleagues, he himself performed the role of a tragic imposter, and while many social psychologists presented themselves as the unwitting victims of Stapel, critics saw the affair as evidence that psychology is a wannabe science in need of fundamental reform. The various imposters and truth-tellers that made their appearance imply different ways of drawing distinctions between honesty and deception, appearance and reality, truth and story telling, frankness and civility.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Imposter as Social Theory
EditorsSteve Woolgar, Else Vogel, David Moats, Claes-Fredrik Helgesson
PublisherBristol University Press
Chapter3
Pages53-76
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781529213096
ISBN (Print)9781529213072
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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