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Re-presenting culture and the self: (Dis)agreeing in theory and in practice

McHoul, A. and Rapley, M. (2005) Re-presenting culture and the self: (Dis)agreeing in theory and in practice. Theory & Psychology, 15 (4). pp. 431-447.

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We try to show that the fundamental grounds of psychological thinking about the domains of ‘culture’ and ‘the self’ (and their possible connections) are necessarily representationalist in the Cartesian sense. Rehearsing Heidegger’s critique of representationalism as the basic wrong turning taken by modern thinking generally (and by psychology in particular) with respect to what human being is, we move on to the possibility of a counter-representationalist re-specification of the concept of culture. Here we mobilize ideas from Husserl and Heidegger (again), and also from the basic ethnomethodological theory of Sacks and Garfinkel, to argue for the primacy of culture as an order of practical-actional affairs that makes conceptualizations of a putative ‘self’ always an effect of, and subsequent to, that very (cultural) order. Accordingly, we end by briefly analysing an actual case of an explicitly cultural use of a supposedly intensional term, ‘agree’.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Media, Communication and Culture
School of Psychology
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Copyright: 2005 SAGE
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