1st Edition

Psychology After Deconstruction Erasure and social reconstruction

By Ian Parker Copyright 2015
    136 Pages
    by Routledge

    136 Pages
    by Routledge

    Ian Parker has been a leading light in the fields of critical and discursive psychology for over 25 years. The Psychology After Critique series brings together for the first time his most important papers. Each volume in the series has been prepared by Ian Parker, and presents a newly written introduction and focused overview of a key topic area.

    Psychology After Deconstruction is 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 Deconstruction is 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.

    Introduction: Psychology after Deconstruction 1. Qualitative Data and the Subjectivity of ‘Objective’ Facts 2. Critical Reflexive Humanism and Critical Constructionist Psychology 3. Deconstructing Accounts 4. Constructions, Reconstructions and Deconstructions of Mental Health 5. Deconstruction and Psychotherapy 6. Deconstructing Diagnosis: Psychopathological Practice 7. Deconstruction, Psychopathology and Dialectics 8. Lacanian Social Theory and Clinical Practice


    Ian Parker was Co-Founder and is Co-Director (with Erica Burman) of the Discourse Unit. He is a member of the Asylum: Magazine for Democratic Psychiatry collective, and a practising psychoanalyst in Manchester. His research and writing intersects with psychoanalysis and critical theory. He is currently editing a book series Lines of the Symbolic (on Lacanian psychoanalysis in different cultural contexts) for Karnac Books. He edited the 2011 four-volume Routledge major work Critical Psychology, and is editing the series Concepts for Critical Psychology: Disciplinary Boundaries Re-Thought. His books on critical perspectives in psychology began with The Crisis in Modern Social Psychology, and How to End It (Routledge, 1989), and continued with Discourse Dynamics: Critical Analysis for Social and Individual Psychology (Routledge, 1992). His recent books include Qualitative Psychology: Introducing Radical Research (Open University Press, 2005) and Revolution in Psychology: Alienation to Emancipation (Pluto Press, 2007).

    'This series is the comprehensive resource we have been waiting for to enable new generations of budding psychologists, and all those who concern themselves with how we might live, to find their way to a just appreciation of what it might be to understand the myriad ways a human being can be a person among persons.' – Rom Harré, Linacre College, University of Oxford, UK, and the Psychology Department, Georgetown University, USA

    ‘In a brilliant and sobering analysis, Parker uncovers the way that modern psychological discourse embeds a system of oppression and exploitation into the very structure of human subjectivity. His provocative synthesis of Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis, and Marxism lays the groundwork for a radical humanism capable of interrogating the networks of power and the possibilities of resistance at the heart of modern institutional existence. Michael Arfken, Department of Psychology, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada

    ‘Over the last three decades Ian Parker has consistently proved to be one of the most thoughtful scholars in the field of critical psychology. Key themes in his work can be seen in this collection of papers: a concern with justice and inequality; the importance of questioning both the mainstream and critical responses to that mainstream; a (critically reflexive) humanism; and doing all this whilst writing in a clear, accessible, questioning and occasionally mischievous manner. In this book, Ian Parker has provided a way for practitioners to question – and to begin to re-think – the assumptions at the heart of their disciplines.’ – David Harper, School of Psychology, University of East London, UK