Psychology After Deconstructionis the second volume in the series and addresses three important questions:
What is ‘deconstruction’ and how does it apply to psychology? How does deconstruction radicalize social constructionist approaches in psychology? What is the future for radical conceptual and empirical research?
The book provides a clear account of deconstruction, and the different varieties of this approach at work inside and outside the discipline of psychology. In the opening chapters Parker describes the challenge to underlying assumptions of ‘neutrality’ or ‘objectivity’ within psychology that deconstruction poses, and its implications for three key concepts: humanism, interpretation and reflexivity. Subsequent chapters introduce several lines of debate, and discuss their relation to mainstream axioms such as ‘psychopathology’, ‘diagnosis’ and ‘psychotherapy’, and alternative approaches like qualitative research, humanistic psychology and discourse analysis. Together, the chapters in this book show how, via a process of ‘erasure’, deconstructive approaches question fundamental assumptions made about language and reality, the self and the social world. By demonstrating the application of deconstruction to different areas of psychology, it also seeks to provide a ‘social reconstruction’ of psychological research.
Psychology After Deconstructionis essential reading for students and researchers in psychology, sociology, social anthropology and cultural studies, and for discourse analysts of different traditions. It will also introduce key ideas and debates within deconstruction to undergraduates and postgraduate students across the social sciences.
Focusing on examples of threat such as unemployment, sexually atypical employment and ethnic marginality, Breakwell examines the relation of the individual to social change. Through her sensitive use of case studies, she enables the victims of threat to speak for themselves about their experiences and feelings. Their reactions illustrate her proposed framework of three levels of coping strategies – intra-psychic, interpersonal and intergroup – and her assessment of the factors which limit the success of such strategies. The case studies also point to new evidence on the effects of unemployment and the impact of youth training schemes at the time.
This title would have been essential reading for a range of undergraduate courses in social and abnormal psychology and individual differences, as well as for postgraduate training in clinical and medical psychology at the time. Social workers, counsellors and all those concerned with the care of the sufferers of threatened identities will still find it both informative and influential.
Is there a science to love?