On This Day … 08 June

People (Births)

  • 1929 – Nada Inada, Japanese psychiatrist and author (d. 2013).
  • 1956 – Jonathan Potter, English psychologist, sociolinguist, and academic.

People (Deaths)

  • 1970 – Abraham Maslow, American psychologist and academic (b. 1908).

Nada Inada

Nada Inada (なだ いなだ, 08 June 1929 to 06 June 2013) was the pen-name of a Japanese psychiatrist, writer and literary critic active in late Shōwa period and early Heisei period Japan. His pen name is from the Spanish language phrase “nada y nada”.


Nada was born in the Magome district of Tokyo, but was raised for part of his youth in Sendai. He graduated from the Medical School of Keio University. One of his fellow students was Kita Morio, who encouraged his interest in literature and in the French language. He later travelled to France on a government scholarship. His wife was French.

Nada’s medical specialty was psychiatry, particularly in the treatment of alcoholism, and he was head of the Substance Abuse Department of National Hospital located in Yokosuka, Kanagawa.

One of his early novels, Retort, was nominated for the prestigious Akutagawa Prize.

Jonathan Potter

Jonathan Potter (born 08 June 1956) is Dean of the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University and one of the originators of discursive psychology.

Jonathan Potter was born in Ashford, Kent, and spent most of his childhood in the village of Laughton, East Sussex; his father was a school teacher and his mother was a batik artist. He went to School in Lewes and then on to a degree in Psychology at the University of Liverpool in 1974 where he was exposed to the radical politics of the city, became (briefly) interested in alternative therapies, and responded to the traditional British empirical psychology that was the mainstay of the Liverpool psychology degree programme at the time. He read the work of John Shotter, Kenneth Gergen and Rom Harré and became excited by the so-called crisis in social psychology. This critical work led him to a master’s degree in philosophy of science at the University of Surrey where he worked on speech act theory and had a first exposure to post structuralism and in particular the work of Roland Barthes. He read and wrote about Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend and Imre Lakatos. At the same time, philosophy of science provided a pathway to the new sociology of scientific knowledge and in particular to the work of Harry Collins, Michael Mulkay and Steve Woolgar.

In 1979 he applied for a PhD funding at the University of Bath to work with Harry Collins. He was offered a place but in the summer of 1979 the offer was withdrawn after the incoming Thatcher government cut the budget for social science. He started a part-time PhD with Peter Stringer in Psychology at the University of Surrey, while also working on a project on overseas tourists’ experiences of Bath’s bed and breakfast hotels. In this period he met and started to live with Margaret Wetherell, who was doing a PhD with John Turner and was, with Howard Giles and Henri Tajfel, one of the key figures in British social psychology. He took part in the vibrant intellectual culture of social psychology in Bristol at the time although he was a lone voice against the broadly experimental focus of Bristol tradition of so-called European Social Psychology.

When Peter Stringer left Surrey to move to a Chair in the Netherlands Potter applied for DPhil funding again and started to work with Michael Mulkay at the University of York. He worked within the sociology of scientific knowledge tradition, focusing on recordings of psychologists debating with one another at conferences. Increasingly that work evolved into an analysis of scientific discourse.

When Margaret Wetherell was appointed to a post in St Andrews University in 1980 he moved to Scotland, doing his PhD long distance. In 1983 he gained his DPhil and started a temporary job whose primary duty was to teach statistics in the Psychological Laboratory (as the department was called at the time). Covering the statistics allowed him a lot of flexibility in other teaching and he developed a course simply called Discourse which covered speech act theory, implicature, semiotics, post-structuralism, critical linguistics and conversation analysis. The intensive engagement with this range of thinking influenced much of his later work.

After 4 years of temporary contracts at St Andrews he was offered a post at Loughborough University where he taught until July 2015, first as lecturer, then Reader in Discourse Analysis from 1992, then Professor of Discourse Analysis from 1996, and Head of Department from February 2010. At Loughborough he worked with and was influenced by Derek Edwards, Michael Billig, Charles Antaki and, more recently, Elizabeth Stokoe. Since 1996 he has lived with, and collaborated with, Alexa Hepburn. In the last decade he has taught workshops and short courses in Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Venezuela, New Zealand, Australia, US and the UK.

In 2005 his book Cognition and Conversation (jointly edited with Hedwig te Molder) received the inaugural prize of the American Sociological Association Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis section in 2007. In 2008 he was elected to UK Academy of Social Sciences.

Abraham Maslow

Abraham Harold Maslow (01 April 1908 to 08 June 1970) was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualisation.

Maslow was a psychology professor at Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, New School for Social Research, and Columbia University. He stressed the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them as a “bag of symptoms”.

A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Maslow as the tenth most cited psychologist of the 20th century.

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