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July 2022

The crisis in modern social psychology and how to find it

Journal/Book: S Afr J Psychol. 1996; 26: P O Box 1758, Pretoria 0001, South Africa. Bureau Scientific Publ. 135-142.

Abstract: The postmodern impulse within the modern discipline of psychology is analysed in this article in relation to the ways in which discourse and qualitative research is accounted for within student practical reports. I take these to exemplify key themes within the discipline that function to ward off the potential challenges of relativism and multiplicity offered by postmodern ideas. I discuss the arena of 'methods' as a central pedagogic structure for the filtering of knowledge and the erasing of subjectivity in psychology. After identifying key areas of both continuity and critique between postmodern ideas and psychology, 1 go on to analyse student accounts of the achievements and limitations of discourse and qualitative research which, alternatively, they claim improve upon, or fail to meet the standards of, psychological rigour and discovery. I argue that these highlight strategies of either incorporation or rejection of the critical potential of, in particular, discourse analysis. By such means 'the crisis' in modern social psychology becomes part of the continuing narrative of the discipline that can be identified, researched and 'found', rather than the story of the impossibility of its project and the desirability of its demise.

Note: Article E Burman, Manchester Metropolitan Univ, Dept Psychol & Speech Pathol, Discourse Unit, Hathersage Rd, Manchester M13 0JA, Lancs, England

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