The Discursive Practices of the Research Program of B. F. Lomov in Promotion of Soviet Engineering Psychology



The article discusses a series of publications by B.F.Lomov from the 1960s aimed at promoting engineering psychology, with the analysis based on discourse analysis and political sociology of science and using articles grouped and examined in terms of print to appeal to different audiences: party elite, midlevel administrators, academia, and psychologists. The emphasis is on practices used to associate engineering psychology with the interests of relevant groups. The rise of the cybernetics movement, which aimed to consolidate scientific disciplines and to expand the political influence of science, is considered as a general context for the application of Lomov’s discursive practices. In this situation, engineering psychology had the advantage of being the branch of psychological research that was closest to the approaches of cybernetics and had the best growth opportunities in the context of the expanding influence of the latter. This trend met with natural resistance from groups that initially found themselves disconnected from cybernetics. These included groups in the humanities involved in political campaigns in science of the 1940s–1950s, including the anticybernetic campaign, as well as part of the bureaucracy that dealt with economic planning, a task that could be most affected by the rise of computer technology. Lomov built his discursive strategy in such a way as to anticipate possible critical attacks. The practices he worked out in publications under examination largely predetermined the practices that he used to promote psychology, acting as director of the Institute of Psychology in the next two decades, and thus had a noticeable impact on the development of Soviet psychology as a whole.

General Information

Keywords: engineering psychology, cybernetics, Soviet psychology, Institute of Psychology AS USSR

Journal rubric: History of Psychology

Article type: scientific article


Received: 09.08.2021


For citation: Konnov V.I. The Discursive Practices of the Research Program of B. F. Lomov in Promotion of Soviet Engineering Psychology. Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Psychology, 2022. Vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 83–95. DOI: 10.21638/spbu16.2022.107. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


Aleksandrov, A.D., Lomov, B.F. (1962). Man and conveyer. Pravda, November 19, p. 3. (In Russian)

Information About the Authors

Vladimir I. Konnov, PhD in Sociology, Associate Professor, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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