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Strange attractions: Discourse, narrative and subjectivity in social psychology

Morgan, Catherine Amanda (1992) Strange attractions: Discourse, narrative and subjectivity in social psychology. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Increasing interest in social constructionism has been expressed in social psychology literature since the mid-eighties. Constructionism has been used in critiques of the scientific practices of social psychology and the v y development of theoretical accounts and research programmes which reconceptualize constructs such as 'attitude'. 'knowledge', 'identity' and 'self' through using the terms 'discourse', 'narrative', and 'subjectivity'. The specific uses to which these terms are put vary, but many constructionist texts cite post-structuralist theories of language, ordinary language philosophies and feminist theories as providing the conceptual resources for their particular approach.

The diversity and scope of constructionist texts in social psychology, and their relationships to constructivist and feminist approaches in other disciplines, create particular difficulties for reviewing this literature. Through reading constructivist and feminist texts from other disciplines and relating these to social psychological knowledges an approach is developed for the purposes of review. This approach uses the notion of morphology and questions concerning the application of feminist theories as points of reference for reviewing constructionist texts published as social psychology.

In review a number of differences between social psychological and other disciplinary applications of constructionism are discussed. These differences highlight particular constraints which operate on constructionist approaches to social psychology because of established epistemological approaches in the discipline. Problems of translating theoretical approaches developed in the humanities into a discipline which is dominantly scientific are discussed. The effect of these constraints on the position of women as practitioners and subjects of the discipline is a particular focus of attention.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Walker, Iain and Booth, Michael
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