Campus culture wars, psychology, and the victimization of persons.

This article explores the role of psychology in the campus culture wars. It is suggested that psychological theorizing has refashioned the meaning and use of some concepts (e.g., abuse, bullying, trauma, prejudice, harassment) such that their application to self-understanding heightens individuals’ sensitivity to emotional harm and broadens the range of acts to which individuals can take offense. This conceptual development, along with enhanced focus on feelings and their unconditional validation, is alleged to have given rise to a kind of emotional reasoning that has supplanted traditional warrants by which arguments are made, debated, legitimated, and adjudicated. Also addressed are ways in which emotional reasoning feeds off the identity politics that have flourished in universities over recent decades. A discussion follows regarding the rise of victim and therapeutic cultures in which those across the political spectrum are embedded, the appeal to psychological science to resolve debates, and how these conditions impede the kind of perspective taking and engagement required for a civil exchange of ideas through which greater understanding might be reached. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)