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(2019). Psychology in the Bathroom, by Nick Haslam, New York, NY: Palgrave McMillan, 2012, 174 pp., $24.99. Psychoanal. Psychol., 36(4):371.
(2019). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 36(4):371
Psychology in the Bathroom, by Nick Haslam, New York, NY: Palgrave McMillan, 2012, 174 pp., $24.99
Review by: William H. Gottdiener, Ph.D.
In Psychology in the Bathroom, Nick Haslam argues that human excretion is a topic worthy of serious psychological study because everyone excretes and our own waste products have significant implications for our lives, especially personal and public health. He further argues that, although the psychology of human excretion has largely been excreted from psychology's academic interests, it is nonetheless, a human function that preoccupies many psychological processes and much human behavior, including jokes, home management (e.g., the number of toilets available for the number of occupants, cleanliness, toilet seat position), businesses and public facilities, gender inequality, race, environmental protection, and overall physical health, among others. Psychoanalysis has produced a body of scholarship on the psychology of the bathroom. In contrast, academic psychology has historically largely ignored excretory activity. Fortunately, that is changing as academic psychologists focus efforts on the psychology of mundane daily life and because of interest in mind-body interactions, including how they manifest in various health conditions. This book was a pleasure reading as someone who is a psychologist and as a psychoanalyst. It fulfills the mission of its title and left me wanting more.
The book reflects psychoanalytic and academic psychological approaches to the psychology in the bathroom, which Haslam seamlessly weaves together. This approach benefits the overall narrative because it creates a global picture of the issues at stake rather than an artificial dichotomization of them.
[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]