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.
Modern social psychology reflects the impact of structuralist and post-structuralist conceptual crises in other academic disciplines, and Parker describes the work of Foucault and Derrida sympathetically and lucidly, making these important debates accessible to the student and discussing their influence. He assesses the responses from both mainstream social psychology and from avant-garde textual social psychology to the influx of these radical ideas, and discusses the promises and pitfalls of a post-modern view of social action.
Since the social sciences separately are studying and theorizing about many of the same kinds of human behavior, the contributors propose that scholars can avoid possible duplication of effort and increase the validity of their formulations by consulting the related findings and methodology from other disciplines before embarking on a research problem. The contributors maintain that this interchange, by broadening the total knowledge of each discipline, represents the best approach toward fulfilling the goals of social scientific inquiry.
The individual chapters give valuable insight into the theoretical overlaps among the disciplines and outline specific research areas--such as group interaction, political attitudes, and intergroup relations--that require interdisciplinary cooperation to produce valid formulations. A major step toward creating a dialogue among disciplines, the book will enable every social scientist to understand more clearly the current state and future direction of interdisciplinary relationships and their indispensable future in social scientific thought.
Muzafer Sherif (1906-1988) was professor and director of the psychosocial studies program at Pennsylvania State University. He is known as one of the founders of the field of social psychology and also helped develop social judgment theory and realistic conflict theory.
Carolyn W. Sherif (1922-1982) was professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University. She wrote numerous important articles dealing with gender in society, gender in self-reference and the need for gender to be studied in the sciences.