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The Faculty of Psychology remembers Miquel Siguan on the 100th anniversary of his birth

Miquel Siguan.

Miquel Siguan.

He was one of the ones to bring psychology in Spain and instigator of the Faculty of Psychology of the UB.

He was one of the ones to bring psychology in Spain and instigator of the Faculty of Psychology of the UB.

14/11/2018

Institucional

The Sala de Graus room of the Faculty of Psychology will host the homage to Miquel Siguan, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth (1918-2018). The activity is promoted together with the Spanish Academy of Psychology and the UB, and will take place on November 15, at 6 p.m..

Attendants will be Josep Batista, vice-rector for Teaching and Research Staff and professor of psychology (UB); Helio Carpintero, president of the Spanish Academy of Psychology; M. Teresa Anguera, professor of Psychology (UB) and academician; Joaquim Arnau, retired lecturer (UB), Carme Triadó Tur, emeritus professor of Psychology (UB) and former dean of the Faculty; Joan Guàrdia Olmos, professor of Psychology (UB) and director of the journal Anuario de Psicologia; Xavier Triadó, director of IDP-ICE of the UB, and Antonio Solanas, dean of the Faculty of Psychology. 

Miquel Siguan i Soler (1918-2010), psychologist and writer born in Barcelona, was one of the ones to bring psychology in Spain and instigator of the Faculty of Psychology of the UB and the Institute of Education Sciences (ICE). As a defender of bilingualism, he stood out for his open, plural and curious attitude, his independent thinking and his anti-dogmatic Catalanism.

Siguan started studying Philosophy and Arts at the University of Barcelona before the war, during the mandate of Bosch Gimpera, a time of autonomous Board of Trustees, when he met people who influenced him, such as Professor Joaquim Xirau, Heribert Barrera —who was his high school friend— or the Catalanist idealist Andreu Xandri.

Siguan mobilized during the war and fought in an anarchist company in Valencia, an experience he talked about years later in La Guerra dels vint anys (La Campana, 2002), one of his best known books. The war ended in 1941 and he dedicated his life to teaching in post-war Barcelona until 1947, when he went abroad and studied Psychology in the London School of Economics, which changed his life. Aged thirty, he decided to work on psychology, he went back to Barcelona to finish his doctoral thesis, titled La Psicología del amor en la mística del siglo xii. He entered the Department of Experimental Psychology of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), led by José Germain and was member of an heterodox group with José Luis Pinillos, former combatant in División Azul, and Mario Yela, republican. They set the basis to establish psychology as a science and as university studies in Spain.
 
At first, Siguan was interested in work psychology and developed a pioneer project which was not spread enough and was not well known, titled Del campo al subirbio (1960), which won the National Prize of Literature under the social category and was a field study on immigrants sand how they got adapted in the city life during the Franco regime development. In 1961, after being appointed the Chair of Psychology, he went back to Barcelona and worked on the creation of a faculty of psychology. At the same time, his studies changed and he started working on language-related issues. In 1974, in ICE, he organized a seminar on language and school, from which the ideas on language normalization would be taught, and now have shaped the current immersion system in primary education.
 
Siguan did not hide his critical thinking on the surrounding reality. His career grew at the university, on which he did not hide any criticism.
 
He is the author of 27 books, such as La España plurilingüe (1992) and Bilinguisme i educació (with Ignasi Vila, 1998). He was a prolific columnist, his latest publications were La flecha en blanco: una reflexión sobre nuestro tiempo (2009), in which he collects all the articles published in La Vanguardia and La Codorniz, and El projecte català. Del passat al futur (2009), going over the historic episodes of Catalanism from a personal perspective.
 
Siguan was honorary dean of the Faculty of Psychology and created and directed Anuario de Psicología, founded in 1969. He was the scientific director of UNESCO’s LINGUAPAX, member of the European Academy and honorary doctorate in the universities of Geneva, Seville, the Basque Country and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. He received Saint George’s Cross and the Gold Medal of the City of Barcelona. The institutional journal of the UB, La Universitat dedicated him an interview in their 50th issue.
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