The Coercive Grip of Neutrality: Can Psychology Escape?

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Reviews the book, Discourse Dynamics: Critical Analysis for Social and Individual Psychology by Ian Parker (see record 1992-97051-000 ). This book provides one of the clearest and most systematic introductions to discourse research and essential theoretical debates in the area. It is one of the few texts to defend a realist position, discuss accounts of postmodernity and set out criteria for the identification of discourses. For Parker, discourse analysis is antipsychology because it embraces a theory of truth that challenges and resists psychology's commitment to internal mental processes as the locus of rationality, responsibility, and action. As he sees it, either one is on the side of psychology, a neutral silent world of private mental states, or on the side of discourse, an ideological world of texts that reproduce or transform public meanings. The conversion to a discursive worldview would produce a critical and reflective discipline of psychology that would look with suspicion at the texts of psychological knowledge. Instead of locating psychology's domain as inside individuals' heads, critical psychology positions inquiry in the sphere of moral and political consequences that arise as people move through a social world of texts.

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Contemporary Psychology, v. 38, issue 5, p. 537-538